Study: Tiny Glaukos glaucoma stent lowers pressure as a standalone procedure

Glaucoma, often caused by increased pressure in the eye, can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Glaucoma microstent maker, Glaukos, reported results from a study showing that its device lowered eye pressure in glaucoma patients who have had their natural lens replaced with an intraocular lens.

The iStent, a microinvasive glaucoma surgery device earned FDA approval in June 2012. It is indicated for use alongside cataract surgery to reduce intraocular patients with open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease. Made of titanium coated with the anticoagulant heparin, it is the smallest FDA-approved device, measuring approximately 1.0 mm long and 0.33 mm wide.

In the study, University of South Dakota researchers collaborated with colleagues from Vance Thomas Vision to evaluate the outcomes of the iStent procedure in 42 pseudophakic eyes, or eyes that have had their natural lens replaced with an intraocular lens. Two years following treatment, 21 eyes showed a 33% decrease in intraocular pressure, while 96% of patients had reduced IOP at their last follow-up, according to a statement.

“While multiple studies and years of real-world experience have demonstrated the ability of iStent to achieve sustained IOP reductions when used in combination with cataract surgery," the current study investigates iStent's ability to lower intraocular pressure when implanted in a standalone procedure, said Dr. John Berdahl, who performed all of the procedures evaluated in the study, in the statement.

“These types of results are important to glaucoma surgeons and patients because landmark studies such as the Early Manifest Glaucoma Trial have shown that every 1 mm Hg improvement in IOP can reduce the likelihood of disease progression," Berdahl said.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases often caused by high intraocular pressure that affect the optic nerve and can cause vision loss or blindness. Allergan recently won an FDA nod for its Xen45 gel stent, which relieves intraocular pressure by creating a channel through which aqueous humor can drain from the anterior chamber—which is between the cornea and iris—into the area beneath the conjunctiva.