Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, but a new treatment is helping patients.
Robert Poirier, a retired ophthalmologist, has glaucoma which can lead to blindness due to increased pressure in the eye. Eye drops reduced his pressure only so much. So when he heard about the istent, he made sure he was one of the first in line.
"As a retired M.D., this has been the most eye-opening experience that i have ever had," said Dr. Thomas Samuelson.
"These new stents are completely novel, there has not been anything like them in the past."
Dr. Thomas Samuelson was the primary investigator on the FDA trial for the tiny one millimeter istent, which drains fluid from the eye to lower pressure. He says it's safer than traditional glaucoma surgery because the istent is implanted during cataract surgery.
"The new stents allow us to do it through about a 1.5 millimeter incision through the cornea which is a very safe incision it the same incision for cataract surgery. We place this 1 mm stent in the eyes' natural drainage channel and it's incredibly safe."
Poirier says his results are perfect.
"And my eye pressures are preferably normal so i mean to me it's an absolute miracle."
While Poirier has gone from two medications to one, Dr. Samuelson says some patients no longer require medication at all.
"Traditionally, glaucoma surgery was only done for advanced cases. For the first time we have safe surgeries that can be used earlier in the disease."
Dr. Samuelson says the new procedure is not paid for by Medicare.