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New Glaucoma Surgery Utilizes the Body’s Natural Systems

Washington University ophthalmologists are using a new device to treat glaucoma. The device reduces intraocular pressure by re-establishing access to the eye’s natural drainage pathway rather than using a shunt or mechanical implant.

The minimally invasive technique, using a new device known as the Trabectome, reopens the tissue by ablating the defective meshwork while keeping the natural drainage system. This cuts the risk of infection due to a bleb. Unlike the traditional trabeculectomy, the new surgery can be done sooner with many patients in early stages of the disease. It is also particularly beneficial to those who have not responded well to non-surgical treatments such as eye drops or laser or who cannot tolerate traditional glaucoma medications.

The short outpatient procedure is safer, less invasive, offers shorter recovery time for patients, reduces reliance on glaucoma medications and has the same success rate as traditional glaucoma surgeries. Patients typically resume normal activity after one week.

Washington University ophthalmologist Edward Barnett, MD, PhD, and his team were the 20th center in the nation to acquire the new technology and have begun training new surgeons on the procedure. The nation to acquire the new technology and have begun training new surgeons on the procedure.
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