Glaucoma is a common eye disease that often requires daily eye drops to reduce damaging eye pressure.
Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the chronic disease, comprises 90% of all cases. Fluid builds up in the front of the eye causing increased pressure on the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting images to the brain.
This type of glaucoma is often painless but can cause severe vision loss or blindness if not treated properly.
The most common therapy for open-angle glaucoma is prostaglandin eye drops. Unfortunately, up to 80% of patients don’t use eye drops as prescribed.
Dr. Karen Todd, board-certified ophthalmologist, fellowship-trained glaucoma specialist admits,
“One of the biggest treatment barriers for glaucoma patients is the daily management of prescription eye drops. Patients forget to use drops, don’t get drops in correctly, or can’t afford to buy drops altogether.
But poor compliance can lead to blindness, which is not something we’re not willing to risk!”
So, it was with great anticipation that Dr. Todd was the first physician on the Treasure Coast to perform an in-office procedure using DURYSTA, a new dissolvable implant, in July.
The tiny implant, no larger than the letter “I” on a penny, releases medication as it slowly dissolves inside the eye to ensure a consistent, sustained dose. Results are noticeable the first day after the procedure and continue to reduce eye pressure for several months afterward according to the drug-maker, Allergan.
The new implant is especially helpful for seniors who don’t have caregivers and those with tremors or other conditions that risk incomplete dosing.
Based on the severity of glaucoma and other health conditions, your ophthalmologist may recommend other treatments based on your specific needs. Additional therapies for glaucoma include laser therapy and micro-stent surgery.
“This sustained release implant will make a huge difference for many of my patients; I’m very happy with the results already!” concludes Dr. Todd.
Glaucoma by the numbers:
- Over 3 million in the US have glaucoma.
- Half don’t know they have it.
- 95% have open-angle glaucoma, the most common type.
- 40% of vision can be lost before noticing symptoms.
- 30% of patients do not apply their eye drops correctly.
- Costs of prescription eye drops are often a barrier to treatment.