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Archive February 2019 XX, No. 2

The Rise of Interventional Glaucoma

These minimally invasive procedures are displacing daily drop regimens.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Editor-in-Chief


Jeffrey Soohoo, MD
DUAL PURPOSE Jeffrey Soohoo, MD, completes a combined cataract and glaucoma procedure, which has the potential to reduce intraocular pressure in 20% of cataract patients.

There are roughly 3 million glaucoma sufferers in the United States and most have one thing in common. "They hate the drops," says Steven Sarkisian, MD, a glaucoma surgeon who practices in Oklahoma City, Okla. He's of course referring to the daily grind of applying — and remembering to apply — topical eye drops that lower intraocular pressure (IOP).

The number of glaucoma sufferers is expected to increase as the aging population provides a steady stream of new cases and physicians continue to recognize early stages of the disease. Patients are also becoming more aware of the following minimally invasive treatment options that can reduce the burden of a daily drop regimen. They might even show up at your facility to have them done.

  • Sustained-release medications. IOP-lowering therapies can be delivered with injections, drug-eluting implants placed in the trabecular meshwork, drug-impregnated punctal plugs and conjunctival polymer rings. Some say they could supplant topical drops as the preferred non-surgical treatment method for glaucoma.

"External devices such as rings that sit in the sulcus of the eyelid or drug-eluting punctal plugs are effective, less invasive treatment options," says Jeffrey Soohoo, MD, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Colorado in Aurora.

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