Indianapolis, IN – August 4, 2017 – Dr. Francis Price Jr., of the Price Vision Group and one of the top cornea specialists in the world, added another “first” to his distinguished credentials in the field of ophthalmology. Having been the first in the state of Indiana to perform several refractive surgeries such as LASIK, all-laser LASIK and CONTOURA™ Vision LASIK, Dr. Price is now the first ophthalmologist in Indiana to use the new XEN® Gel Stent for glaucoma surgery. This new procedure is less invasive and could dramatically reduce complications associated with current surgical options for glaucoma.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that is one of the leading causes of vision loss. In a healthy eye, fluid within the eye moves through a drainage system that keeps the pressure at a stable level. Elevated eye pressure occurs when either too much fluid is produced or drainage is reduced. This excessive pressure from fluid inside the eye damages the optic nerve. Peripheral vision is typically lost first and gradually progresses to tunnel vision, until even central vision is decreased. To date, vision loss from glaucoma cannot be reversed or improved. Current treatments for glaucoma aim to reduce the eye pressure back to healthy levels and halt the progression of vision loss.
About the XEN® Gel Stent
Used to lower high eye pressure in glaucoma patients, the XEN® Gel Stent is a surgical implant that received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in November 2016 and became available in the US in early 2017. The XEN® implant is approximately 6 mm long and is made from collagen. This material is a natural protein found in the body and is biocompatible to the eye, possibly minimizing many of the issues such as migration, erosion, and damage to the corneal tissue associated with synthetic materials used in current glaucoma surgeries. Compared to traditional surgical options for glaucoma such as trabeculectomies and glaucoma tubes, the procedure using the XEN® utilizes smaller incisions that don’t typically require sutures.
The XEN® Gel Stent procedure
The XEN® Gel Stent is inserted through two small incisions in the cornea (the window of the eye). The stent creates a tunnel so fluid inside the eye can to exit out underneath the conjunctiva, which is the clear membrane covering the white of the eye. The fluid is collected in a bleb (small blister) under the conjunctiva where it is then absorbed by the surrounding tissue. This lowers the fluid pressure inside the eye and helps prevent further damage of the optic nerve from glaucoma. Patients will require just topical anesthesia, typically with IV sedation.
The XEN® Gel Stent and the future of glaucoma treatment
“We are excited about the greatly improved safety profile compared to other types of glaucoma surgery. It should allow for both safer and earlier surgical treatment of glaucoma especially in eyes or patients having difficulty or lack of sufficient effect with topical glaucoma drops,” said Dr. Price.