World Glaucoma Week: 10-16 March 2019

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New micro-surgery techniques raise the bar in Glaucoma treatment at Moorfields Dubai

According to the World Glaucoma Association, glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide. There are no symptoms and so most people with glaucoma are unaware they have it. However, the disease is treatable and blindness can be prevented through early diagnosis. Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai has introduced a new generation of micro-surgery treatment options – Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) – to combat glaucoma in the Middle East, providing patients with a faster, safer surgery and better outcomes.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage of the optic nerve. It is called ‘the sneak thief of sight’ because there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much as 40 per cent of the field of vision can be lost without a person noticing. Although medical treatments are often effective, many patients need surgery. For glaucoma, surgery is becoming a minimally invasive (or even micro) procedure.

Today, eye surgery is following the broader trend in medical surgery and developing new minimally invasive techniques. In the UAE, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai now provides a range of glaucoma treatment options, including MIGS techniques.


There is a range of new glaucoma surgical techniques that can be used to reduce the pressure within the eye and help stop or slow any progression of glaucoma and so preserve vision. These new techniques help minimise any risks associated with surgery. MIGS comprise two main surgery types:

iStent  – A small 1mm mesh tube made from titanium (known as an iStent) is surgically inserted into the eye’s natural drainage channel to help the eye’s natural ability to drain fluid and so reduce pressure inside the eye. This minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) is safe and can reduce the need for patients to use eye drops every day.

Xen Gel Stent – the insertion of an Xen Gel Stent also reduces pressure inside the eye by draining fluid via a small drainage tube (stent) connecting the anterior chamber of the eye to a bleb (or reservoir) positioned below the conjunctiva.

Dr. Mohammed Sohaib Mustafa, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Specialist in Glaucoma and Cataract Surgery, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, said: “New Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is giving patients with mild to moderate glaucoma very good results with improved safety. In fact, ‘Micro’ seems a more appropriate term because these microscopic ophthalmic procedures are different from other minimally invasive surgical procedures. Most MIGS procedures are an alternative to medical therapy and offer patients an improved quality of life compared to living with the daily use of eye drops, for example.”

Generally, successful MIGS surgery takes no more than 30 minutes and is usually performed under local anaesthesia, although general anaesthesia is also possible under certain circumstances. Complications are extremely rare and MIGS have excellent safety records. Patients are usually discharged from hospital on the day of surgery with an examination the following day. It takes about one month for the eye to feel completely normal in most cases. Most glaucoma surgical studies show high success rates over a five-year period. The I-stent and XEN gel implant show good results with most patients achieving good pressure control without the need for continued glaucoma medication.