Glaucoma - In the News

Mail Online - November 2015 brings a possible treatment that involves draining the fluid from the eye (this what causes a rise in pressures) - a small injectable tube (known as a stent). If this works for all types of glaucoma, it could easily become the best treatment there is for glaucoma.

New surgical procedures for cataract surgery are being tested at Moorfield's Eye Hospital in Britain. A procedure that apparently can mean less eye medications required afterwards.

Catalyst for a Cure the 2015 research initiative looking for ways to recognize and treat glaucoma at earlier stages, and find biomarkers to help in the diagnosis. Unusual in this research is that it is being carried out by four different groups, collaboratively, rather than independently. The article and video included is an interesting read for anyone with glaucoma.

In an article dated July 29th (PM Group ) notes that Novartis (A Swiss pharmaceutical company with branches worldwide, including Canada) have recently received approval in Europe for a new eyedrop treatment for glaucoma - one that combines two different types of drops into one. I'm not a scientist or a doctor, so I'm not going to go into details (read the article for those) but it's use is specific to open-angle glaucoma.

This article from Optometry UK  relates specifically to treatment in the UK - notably, in London (Optegra London group). If you have glaucoma or think you might have glaucoma, this will be of interest to you. The downside as I see it, is that the service offered runs at a fairly hefty price - quite possibly unaffordable for many. To quote the article: "The service costs £675 for a 12-month period."

More news, this time from The Smithsonian  - this involving a sensor that's inserted into your eye. Obviously, if this is possible, monitoring people at risk for glaucoma and catching it very early would be pretty awesome, but I would think this too would be an expensive procedure and not common - at least not for several years after it's initial trials, which hasn't happened yet, and the sensor (yes it exists) isn't ready for implanting yet. According to the article, it could be five years away from the first implant. From reading, it seems like the sensor would be put into place with a lens when doing cataract surgery. But the downside is that it looks as though it would require an external source for power, and to receive the data ... so it might be something a person would either need to carry or wear all the time which to me, seems a little extreme for monitoring people in case they have increased pressures. It does look like a excellent advancement in research though, and hopefully by the time they are ready to begin trials, the technology for the power and data source will improve as well, reducing the size of device needed.

The Triange Business Journal  reports on an approved testing (go-ahead) for another glaucoma treatment in Canada, this time from Aerie Pharmaceuticals (Duke University). It looks as though these eye drops would be more conventient to use (once a day, as opposed to the multiple times a day needed by many other drops), and similar types of developments have already begun testing in the US.

And just for those who still insist the use of marijuana will control glaucoma - here's news for you. It doesn't. It doesn't help significantly over long term, and is not recommended by eye doctors. And two more related Glaucoma pages from all about vision: Glaucoma FAQ and Glaucoma Treatment. You don't have to believe me, but you should believe the experts. And no, I'm pretty sure there is no "conspiracy theory" going on here because doctors and pharmaceutical companies want to make more money on their services and products. It doesn't work, and it isn't safe to trust your eyesight to it.

In Canada, over the last few years eye care has taken a beating because of government
funding and cutbacks. There are several good articles (most of which I've read in the actual print version of the newspaper when they came out) available online about this. I personally feel the government simply doesn't seem to understand the importance of testing and treatment for several eye diseases ... either that or they just don't care. And perhaps it will be that way until some of their own family members find themselves stuck for help. Right now, cataract surgery wait lists can be as long as six months. The good news is that for some already diagnosed with these conditions, the exams and standard tests are still covered.

The Orillia Packet - Future of Eyecare in Orillia
The Orillia Packet - Eye Doctor Sees Troubles Ahead
The Toronto Sun - Postpone Cataract Surgery for Ontarians
The Barrie Examiner - Changes to Eye Care Surgery in Sight

Useful References to Stay Updated

Glaucoma Foundation - Newsletters
New Glaucoma Treatments

J.Gracey Stinson