Glaucoma is a visual impairment that can cause blindness. To prevent blindness, there are several treatment methods that can be done, one of which is glaucoma implants. So, how is this procedure done?
Glaucoma implants, alternatives to overcome difficult cases of glaucoma
Based on data compiled by the Ministry of Health Riskesdas (KEMENKES RI) in 2007, the number of patients with glaucoma reached up to 4.6 per 1,000 population.
The disease that attacks vision is caused by an increase in pressure on the eyeball. This happens because of the accumulation of fluid in the eye, which leads to nerve damage to the eye.
This damage is permanent, so glaucoma can not be cured completely and ends in blindness.
Although glaucoma cannot be cured, the cause of this condition can be controlled so that it can reduce the risk of blindness . Glaucoma can generally be overcome only by using drugs if the condition is not severe.
However, if various types of glaucoma treatment fail to improve the patient’s condition, the doctor will recommend surgery. One operation that can be done is glaucoma implant surgery.
Glaucoma implants, also called glaucoma drainage devices, are used to block or even stop the progression of glaucoma. This effort was made so that the patient’s condition did not lead to blindness.
Glaucoma implants are considered as the last treatment option if various other types of treatment fail to reduce intraocular pressure, which is the main cause of glaucoma.
Important facts regarding the use of glaucoma implants
When met by the Hello Sehat team during the Virna Glaucoma Implant product launch event at the FKUI IMERI Hall (26/6), Dr. dr. Virna Dwi Oktariana, Sp.M (K) reveals facts about the use of glaucoma implants.
He stated that although the vision of patients with glaucoma will not recover 100%, at least the condition of the patient can return up to 80%.
“Implants can be placed on the eyes of patients who have lost vision completely, but not to restore vision. The purpose of implant placement is only to reduce pressure on the eyeball, “said Dr. Virna
In addition to using implants, patients who are already blind can also reduce eye pressure using a laser.
Furthermore, Dr. Virna also revealed that after glaucoma patients’ eyes were implanted, it did not mean that the patient was free from using drugs to treat this disease . All remains dependent on the patient’s condition.
There are some cases that require additional treatment. However, if eye pressure has been resolved only with the use of an implant, the patient does not need to take medication or perform other companion treatments.
Who needs glaucoma implants?
The doctor, who also serves as the Head of the Glaucoma Division of the Eye Department of Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM), said that the implants were not used to handle glaucoma cases which were still mild.
This implant is intended for patients with difficult cases. For example, patients experience failure of trabeculectomy surgery or drugs are not able to help optimally.
In addition, the condition of glaucoma due to high blood pressure, diabetes, and operations in certain parts of the eye, such as the retina and cornea, also include cases that can be treated with implants.
Other cases where the patient is suspected to have failed surgery from the beginning, is another difficult case that can only be treated with glaucoma implants. Generally, glaucoma that occurs due to trauma after an accident is a case that will experience a failure of surgery.
What should be considered for the installation of glaucoma implants?
Before deciding whether a patient needs glaucoma implants or not, there are a number of things a doctor must do, including:
Look at the patient’s condition
Not all patients need implants, that’s why a doctor will determine whether a patient needs glaucoma implants or not.
For example, congenital glaucoma patients may require this procedure. The doctor will first suggest other treatments before deciding to use the implant method.
Doctors must perform this step to increase the percentage of implant surgery success. One of the things that must be considered is the patient’s conjunctival condition, whether it is possible to insert the implant.
“If the patient’s conjunctiva is damaged, implant placement cannot be done,” explained Dr. Virna
Selection of glaucoma implants
The material used for implants can differ from one another. Generally, certain ingredients tend to be cheaper than other ingredients.
In addition, the size and shape of glaucoma implants can also vary. The doctor must be able to determine the size and shape of the implant that suits the patient’s condition.
How glaucoma implants work
Glaucoma implants work by removing fluid from the eyeball. Thus, the pressure on the eyeball can be reduced.
This implant will be placed or inserted in the outer layer of the eye. Precisely under the conjunctiva or a thin layer of tissue that covers all parts, the eye other than the cornea.
After that, a small tube will be inserted into the eyeball through this implant so that the fluid that has accumulated in the eyeball will come out.
Eyeball fluid will be flowed through a small tube into the eye area behind the implant. This liquid is then reabsorbed by the body thereby reducing pressure on the eyeball due to fluid buildup.