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A more efficient method to prevent scarring following glaucoma surgery

Scientists at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a novel method to prevent post-surgical scarring in glaucoma patients. Glaucoma is caused by pressure buildup in the eye, and is a major cause of blindness worldwide. A common surgical procedure known as a trabeculectomy creates a flap of eye tissue to provide a new pathway for aqueous fluid to flow out, thereby lowering the pressure. However, the flap can become blocked if scar tissue forms, which impedes the proper drainage of fluid. To fight this problem, a drug known as 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is injected immediately after surgery to prevent scarring. Asian patients have a high risk of post-operative scarring in glaucoma surgeries, and often require multiple injections of 5-FU over several months to maintain desirable post-operative eye pressure. However, researchers in Singapore have developed a more efficient method of 5-FU injection that makes the drug last longer. By injecting 5-FU contained in hyaluronic acid gel, the drug is gradually released from the gel over several days, compared to the current administration where 5-FU remains at the injection site for only a few hours. In this study, only 12 percent of subjects receiving the new 5-FU solution required another injection within 3 months of the surgery, while 50 percent of those receiving the current treatment required further injections during that time. By applying 5-FU in a more efficient manner, doctors spare patients of further intervention that can not only be inconvenient, but can also lead to further complications.

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