Latest glaucoma treatment ends multiple eye drops a day

For Romsey-lady, Rosie Marchant, life for the past six years has centered around administering numerous daily eye drops to keep her glaucoma under control – up to nine sets a day.  But latest innovations at a leading eye hospital group have transformed her life.

Glaucoma is an eye condition that can lead to blindness if left untreated, and affects 800,000 UK adults.  It has traditionally been managed by daily eye drops to maintain safe eye pressure levels.

However, a novel surgical treatment, XenTM, a glaucoma gel stent implant which is just the width of a human hair, provided by Optegra Eye Health Care as a joint procedure with cataract surgery, has resulted in Rosie having 20:20 vision for the first time in two decades and also no longer needing any daily eye drops.

At the specialist eye hospital group, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon and Glaucoma Specialist, Miss Nishani Amerasinghe offers this innovative collagen-based injectable gel implant, designed for people with primary open-angle glaucoma.

Miss Amerasinghe, from Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire, describes the procedure: “The XenTM gel implant is designed to lower high eye pressure in open-angle glaucoma – the most common form of glaucoma in the UK today – for patients where medications alone were not sufficient, as with Rosie; or those who are undergoing cataract surgery and want or need an alternative to drops. 

“It works by creating a small channel with the long-lasting implant in the eye to drain fluid and help lower eye pressure. The tube is tiny, just about the length of an eyelash, and is injected with a fine needle to sit just under the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the front of the eye and eyelid. 

“It is much less invasive than other treatments, so can be carried out earlier on in a patient’s glaucoma management, which means less appointments and less eye drops.

“For Rosie, the glaucoma had caused her eye pressure to be high for her, in the mid- 20s.  Now it is stable and at a safer level of 11 in one eye, 12 in the other.”

Rosie, age 78, hails this a breakthrough which has had a dramatic impact on her day-to-day life.  Having been a nurse for 40 years she was very aware of the importance of her eye drops and so inserted them to the letter, but maintains they were an ongoing nuisance and inconvenience, having to apply them up to nine times a day. 

She says: “If I had known I would have to spend six years putting many drops in my eyes every day, I would have tried to have this procedure much, much sooner!”

Rosie explains how her glaucoma was first diagnosed: “My optician first noticed my eye pressure had gone up at a routine eye test, which I attended every two years.  It was not massively high but had gone up dramatically compared to my previous appointment which indicated a problem.

“I had no symptoms, so realized that if I had not been going for regular eye tests we would not have known it had changed so much, and that there was a problem.  I was referred to a specialist who prescribed various drops. While they reduced the pressure over the past six years, I then went to see her and suddenly the pressure had risen and I was referred to Miss Amerasinghe for surgery.

“It had to be done urgently so I cancelled a holiday, and decided to use our medical insurance to be seen more quickly at Optegra.  I had both my cataract removed and the XenTM stent implanted in one operation.

“During the 20 minute op, local anesthetic was applied and the actual procedure was much less frightening and more comfortable than I expected it to be. My surgeon, Miss Amerasinghe, totally put me at ease and the sort of thing that is worrying – that you may not stay absolutely still – was no problem.  She was wonderful, all the staff could not have been kinder or more reassuring.”

Rosie’s cataract was quite severe and so she describes her vision as “seriously bad”, to the point she had stopped driving.  But following the procedure, she says: “It was amazing. The very next day, I could see better than I imagined I ever could.  I feel like it is a bit of a miracle.”  Rosie went on to have her second eye treated some months later.

 

For Rosie the procedure has improved a lot more than just her vision and eye health.  She says: “It has made a difference to me mentally to see the world clearly.  The cataract was so bad I was seeing people a few yards up the road and not recognizing them. I had a few falls, as I just could not see loose paving stones.  It all knocks your confidence.”

Mother of two, Rosie, can now better enjoy the clearer Hampshire countryside, and her reading, gardening, keep fit classes and theatre trips are all more enjoyable now her vision is improved.

Rosie had her treatment at Optegra Eye Health Care, and it cost £3,116. The treatment can also be received on the NHS.

Optegra Eye Health Care is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services in the UK, China, Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. It operates 23 eye hospitals and clinics, bringing together leading edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment.  Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes for the A to Z of eye health care.

For more information please visit Optegra.com or call 0808 159 9580.

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