This blog has been contributed Dr. Salman Waqar , Consultant in Ophthalmologist in Cataract and Glaucoma Surgery.
Glaucoma occurs when the pressure in our eye becomes high leading to damage to the optic nerve (nerve that connects our eye to the brain and helps us see). It is important to lower the eye pressure urgently to protect the nerve.
This can be done with eye drops, lasers and surgical techniques. Usually eye drops and lasers are used as first line treatment, but if these are not effective we have to intervene surgically.
What is the Presserflo MicroShunt?
The MicroShunt is an 8 millimetre long tube that is inserted into the eye to help lower eye pressure in glaucoma and reduce the need for medication. It is made entirely of a synthetic and biocompatible material called SIBS.
The MicroShunt won’t be rejected by the body and will not disappear or disintegrate with time. As it is not metallic, it will not set off airport scanners and is safe if you need to have an MRI or CT scan.
How does it work?
Glaucoma is most commonly associated with a build-up of fluid pressure inside the eye. This build-up of fluid pressure is caused by partial blockage of the natural drainage channel of the eye. This pressure can damage the optic nerve which carries images from the eye to the brain affecting your vision. This fluid produced inside your eye is called aqueous humour, which is different from your tears. Like trabeculectomy surgery, the MicroShunt drains fluid from inside the eye to outside, under a thin skin-like membrane covering the white of the eye called conjunctiva. The fluid is drained and pooled under conjunctiva forming what is called a bleb.
What are the benefits?
The MicroShunt will lower your eye pressure and prevent further damage to the optic nerve caused by eye pressure (intraocular pressure).
Compared to other glaucoma procedures such as a trabeculectomy, MicroShunt has the advantage that the procedure is shorter, less invasive, and requires fewer post-operative visits. In addition, the drainage bleb created by the MicroShunt is usually less obvious than after a trabeculectomy and contact lens wearers are often still able to continue contact lens wear afterwards.
Are there any alternatives?
The closest alternatives to the MicroShunt will be a traditional trabeculectomy or aqueous shunt implant (Baerveldt, Ahmed or Paul Glaucoma Implant). We aim to always individualise treatment options to your unique needs and will suggest the MicroShunt to you only if we feel it offers the best chance of controlling your eye pressure using a minimally invasive approach.