New eye implant promises vision to blind
The surgery, involving the implantation of a tiny device, small enough to be barely seen in the eye, lasts for just 15 minutes.
Currently being carried out at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, the surgery is found to be effective against glaucoma, a disorder caused by eye pressure triggered by natural fluids, which are unable to drain away because of a blockage.
During the surgery, a stent, a tiny titanium channel, is inserted into the eye which acts as a permanent drainage route.
Jackie Baker, a glaucoma patient, has become the first patient to be operated by surgeon Leon Au in July.
"I'd been reading about the new device and knew it was coming to Manchester so I contacted Au who decided I was a suitable candidate. It was all over quickly and the pressure in my eye is good and low and likely to stay that way," the Daily Express quoted her as saying.
There is a clear difference between the vision provided to implanted patients as compared to a normal vision, the researchers revealed.
Typically only the lines and shapes of the objects can be seen clearly.
These implants hold promising results for patients suffering from blindness due to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well.
It has been revealed that glaucoma can further lead to common ailments including diabetes and hypertension.
"The findings that open-angle glaucoma patients have a higher prevalence of associated comorbidities implies the importance of a systemic evaluation in this group of patients and indirectly highlights the importance of evaluating glaucoma in patients with systemic disease in whom glaucoma can be missed," Jau-Der Ho, MD, PhD, of Taipei Medical University said.
A little about glaucoma
A disease in which the optic nerve is damaged, glaucoma leads to a progressive and irreversible loss of vision.
Due to the fact the disease results in loss of vision over a long period of time, it is commonly referred to as the “silent thief of sight."
Sudden pain, halos around lights, red eye, high intraocular pressure, nausea, sudden decreased vision and a fixed, mid-dilated pupil are some of the common symptoms of glaucoma.
Women are thrice more likely to develop acute angle-closure glaucoma compared to men as anterior chambers are much shallow in women.
Extended use of steroids and other conditions like severe diabetes which severely restrict blood flow to the eye are main factors leading to the disease.