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New technique lowers intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients

Glaucoma elevates the intraocular pressure in a patient's eyes. A surgical procedure known as trabeculectomy has been the only surgical method available to reduce the elevated eye pressure. This surgical technique is invasive and carries a risk of infection or pressure which is too low post-operatively, either of which can ultimately lead to vision loss. A new surgical procedure reduces the intraocular pressure while carrying little risk of infection or ocular hypotension. The new surgical method is called canaloplasty. This procedure involves using a flexible micro-catheter which is inserted into Schlemm's Canal in the eye and injecting a gel which opens the collapsed area. The surgeon also inserts a micro-suture in the canal to make sure that the canal stays open. This allows for proper drainage of the fluid in the eye. Patients with mild to moderate forms of glaucoma are good candidates for the procedure. Other good candidates are those who are at high risk of complication from trabeculectomy and those who take several medications in order to lower their intraocular pressure. Doctors are equally pleased with the shorter recovery time which canaloplasty offers to patients. Canaloplasty is considered a "non-penetrating" glaucoma surgery, because although an incision is made in the eye, it doesn't rely on the creation of a permanent hole in the eye that drains fluid. Soon, I'm going to discuss another "non-penetrating" surgery known as Trabectome. Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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