November 30, 2020

El Insular, a pioneer in using a new implant to treat glaucoma

Called iStent inject W, the implant measures just 0.36 millimeters. This makes it “the smallest device that has ever been implanted in the human body”, as explained yesterday by the head of the aforementioned service, Francisco Cabrera. It was at the end of last month when the specialists of the hospital center began to work with the new system and, to date, four people have been placed.

“In the Islands, it is estimated that some 60,000 have glaucoma and that approximately half do not know they have it because it is a silent disease,” said Laura Bernal, one of the ophthalmologists of the Glaucoma Unit directed by Beatriz Estévez and who Also members are Maricela Trujillo and Ramón Cobián. It is also an irreversible and chronic pathology. Hence, this new technique helps to reduce deterioration in patients diagnosed in a mild-moderate stage of primary open-angle glaucoma, pseudoexfoliative glaucoma or pigmentary glaucoma.

The intervention is performed under local anesthesia through a single incision


It is an intervention that is performed under local anesthesia, through a single corneal incision of just 2.7 millimeters in which two implants are placed. “It does not require sutures, so the result will be more predictable because it will not depend on the healing of the conjunctiva, as occurs in classic surgeries,” says Trujillo. This makes it “a very grateful surgery because the next day the visual recovery is fantastic and the incorporation to work is possible, it no longer causes inflammatory symptoms”.

In addition to being minimally invasive and facilitating rapid recovery, this intervention will also allow the reduction of intraocular pressure caused by an imbalance between the production of aqueous humor -a liquid that flows through the anterior and posterior chambers of the eye- and its natural drainage through the trabecular meshwork. Several studies support the efficacy of iStent inject W, which was approved in February in Europe and in July by the FDA, and that facilitates this drainage in patients.

“This device is specially designed for those patients who do not achieve adequate control of eye pressure with drops or who are not good adherents to the treatment, since it must be remembered that it is a disease that occurs in people over 40 years of age and has a higher incidence in people over 60 with multiple pathologies ”, added Dr. Maricela Trujillo.

It is estimated that in the Canary Islands around 60,000 people are affected by this disease


That is why specialists recommend periodic check-ups from the age of 40 “to be able to diagnose the disease at a time when the damage is not even perceptible to the patient, because what damages glaucoma does not recover,” he said. Cabrera. In the case of a mild or moderate stage of the disease, the implantation of this system will mean a reduction or elimination of hypotensive drugs, and therefore, a lower number of medical visits.

“It can also be used in more advanced glaucomas in which classical surgery has not been enough, because it is a plus to help drain the aqueous humor,” commented the head of the Chuimi Ophthalmology Service, who performed almost a hundred of filtering surgeries.


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