First Hydrus microstent implanted to treat leading cause of blindness

Darian Graivshark
Dr. Booth during the microstent eye procedure.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide with over 80 million people suffering from the disease. A significant portion of these patients also have cataracts. Now, thanks to the latest chapter in advanced technology minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), patients have the potential to address both concerns and eliminate the burden of medication drops.

On Thursday, April 11, Dr. Blake Booth of Williamson Eye Center implanted the first Hydrus Microstent on the very first patient in Louisiana.

"The stent holds open the drainage canal of the eye, to enhance fluid flow," Dr. Booth said. "It was recently approved by the FDA after having been thoroughly tested world wide, and it's proven to be effective at keeping eye pressure down after surgery with less or no glaucoma medication use."

MIGS surgery has been adopted in the United States for years, and while the treatment method isn't necessarily new, the technology continues to advance for better treatment outcomes. At roughly the size of an eyelash, the Hydrus® Microstent is a next-generation MIGS device.

"One thing to know is that this procedure is only approved to be done on patients who are also receiving cataract surgery," he said. "Typically, if a patient has glaucoma, they also have cataracts. At Williamson Eye, we specialize in cataract surgery and glaucoma surgery so patients can have both treated at once."

Dr. Booth shared that all four patients he has done the procedure on were very comfortable during the procedure, with no increase in discomfort. All four patients showed a significant decrease in eye pressure than before they received the device. Their eyes also healed at the same rate as it would if they were receiving only cataract surgery.

"Having to treat patients with medication is difficult, for both the doctors and the patients," he said. "Having this procedure is a valuable addition to glaucoma care, and being able to treat that without medication is wonderful. I'm eager and excited to continue this, and improve it, in any way that we can."

Although most patients are able to get off their eye drop treatments after receiving the procedure, not every person is able to.

"Almost 80 percent of patients who receive this stent have a significant drop in eye pressure without taking their glaucoma drops after the surgery," Dr. Booth said.

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