These days, there are a variety of treatment options for glaucoma patients. While glaucoma is a serious condition that can cause permanent damage to your vision or even blindness, you can manage it.
This is often done with a combination of medication or surgery to slow the progression of the disease and save your remaining vision. Some surgical options are more intensive than others. Other, newer options for patients are MIGS, known as minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries or micro incisional glaucoma surgery.
MIGS are an effective option for certain patients. They can also be safer than other surgical options. Keep reading to learn more about MIGS!
What are MIGS?
Micro incisional glaucoma surgeries are surgical procedures used to treat glaucoma that is considered to be less invasive. This is because there are less equipment and fewer incisions used. There are several procedures that are considered to be MIGS, including:
iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent:
The iStent is for patients with glaucoma that also need cataract surgery. iStent is different because it reduces eye pressure and helps manage open-angle glaucoma. iStent removes the blockage in the eye’s natural drainage system, which leads to increased eye pressure.
The iStent creates an opening that’s permanent to improve how fluid can flow and drain through the eye. By restoring how the eye’s fluid flows, this lowers and controls intraocular pressure. iStent is implanted during cataract surgery.
Another option for patients with glaucoma that need to have cataract surgery is the Hydrus Microstent. The Hydrus Microstent is inserted into the eye using a gonioprism. It’s guided through the trabecular meshwork and into Schlemm’s canal.
After being put into position, the Hydrus Microstent is then delivered using a stainless steel cannula. The Hydrus Microstent enhances the flow of fluid in the eye and reduces eye pressure.
Gonioscopy-Assisted Transluminal Trabeculectomy:
Gonioscopy-Assisted Transluminal Trabeculectomy (GATT) is another MIGS procedure meant to treat patients with open-angle glaucoma. It is a modification of a more traditional glaucoma surgery called a trabeculectomy.
The GATT procedure is performed using micro-incisions in the cornea. The procedure takes place using an incision that’s about 1 millimeter and made in the periphery of the cornea.
After entering the eye, the procedure cuts through the trabecular meshwork, followed by cannulation of Schlemm’s canal 360 degrees and unroofing Schlemm’s canal. GATT gives the surgeon full access to the natural drainage system, which helps with efforts to lower intraocular pressure.
Kahook Goniotomy or Kahook Dual Blade involves removing the trabecular meshwork from a portion of the drainage system. The goal of this is to lower eye pressure for patients with glaucoma.
This can be done as a standalone procedure or performed at the same time with cataract surgery.
Is MIGS Right for You?
MIGS is best for patients in the early to moderate stages of glaucoma. Some MIGS procedures, like trabecular surgery, have very little effect on more severe cases of glaucoma.
They are best used in the early stages as a way to slow the progression of the disease. Experts agree that advanced glaucoma is best treated by traditional surgeries.
Traditional surgeries often involve a longer recovery time and more intensive procedures. When your vision is threatened by severe glaucoma symptoms, more aggressive treatment may be the only way to save it.
MIGS can still be effective for many glaucoma patients. These procedures are also more convenient for patients who don’t want to spend a lot of time recovering from postoperative care.
Used with certain medications, MIGS can be the perfect way to manage your glaucoma and keep it from progressing. Of course, any surgery still carries some degree of risk, and there is no guarantee that MIGS will always be 100% effective. But for many glaucoma patients, MIGS is a safer alternative.
Wondering if MIGS could be right for you? Schedule an appointment at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV to find out if MIGS could be the best way to treat your glaucoma symptoms!