About three million people each year in the U.S. live with the disease called glaucoma. One-half of these people don’t even realize they have the disease. Over time, glaucoma can degrade the eye’s function and even cause blindness. That’s why an annual eye exam is critical to preventing this disease.
But what treatment options are open for people who experience glaucoma? Eye drops and glaucoma surgery is the traditional treatment for this disease. But glaucoma treatment in Buffalo is changing. A more modern approach to glaucoma surgery is decreasing downtime from this procedure and improving healthcare outcomes for patients suffering from the disease. We’d like to introduce you to minimally invasive glaucoma surgery as an exciting new treatment options for restoring the health of your eyes.
What is Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve. An increase in intraocular pressure causes the disease. If left untreated, it can lead to vision loss and even blindness. Historically, traditional glaucoma surgery has been the primary approach to manage the disease. However, recent advancements in the field of ophthalmology have introduced Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS). MIGS is a groundbreaking technique that is changing the landscape of glaucoma treatment in Western New York (WNY).
MIGS procedures in WNY refer to a category of surgical procedures designed to manage glaucoma through small incisions, minimizing trauma to the eye. Unlike traditional glaucoma surgery, MIGS offers a less invasive alternative, making it an appealing choice for patients and ophthalmologists. These procedures have been gaining popularity and have shown promising results in managing glaucoma, with quicker recovery times and fewer complications.
Traditional vs. Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery in WNY
Medical science continues to evolve and improve. Such is the case with glaucoma surgery. Minimally invasive techniques are the next step for glaucoma specialists in Buffalo. While not all patients qualify for MIGS, what are the differences between traditional glaucoma surgery and the less invasive procedure?
What is Traditional Glaucoma Surgery?
Traditional glaucoma surgery typically involves creating a drainage pathway for excess aqueous humor (the clear fluid in the eye) to reduce intraocular pressure. The most common traditional glaucoma surgery is a trabeculectomy, where a small hole is made in the eye to allow fluid to drain out, or a tube shunt implant, which involves the placement of a drainage device in the eye to achieve a similar effect.
While these procedures have effectively lowered intraocular pressure and managed glaucoma, they are associated with certain drawbacks. Traditional surgeries are invasive, requiring a larger incision and extensive manipulation of the eye, which can result in complications and longer recovery times.
How Does Traditional Glaucoma Treatment in Buffalo Compare to MIGS?
In contrast, MIGS procedures are designed to be minimally invasive, utilizing micro-incisions and tiny devices to enhance the outflow of aqueous humor from the eye. These procedures are typically performed with specialized equipment, such as microscopes and fine instruments, allowing for a high degree of precision.
MIGS procedures differ from traditional surgeries in their surgical approach and the extent of tissue manipulation. They are often performed conjunctively or through the cornea, reducing the risk of complications associated with larger incisions.
What Are the Advantages of MIGS over Traditional Surgery?
MIGS is Minimally Invasive
One of the primary advantages of MIGS is its minimally invasive nature. The micro-incisions and small devices used in MIGS reduce the risk of complications, such as infection and inflammation, associated with larger incisions in traditional glaucoma surgery.
Reduced Postoperative Discomfort
MIGS procedures are associated with minimal postoperative discomfort and a quicker recovery time. Patients often experience less pain and a faster return to their normal daily activities, which is a significant advantage over traditional surgery.
Preservation of Conjunctival Tissue
Traditional glaucoma surgery typically involves the creation of a conjunctival flap, which can lead to long-term complications, including scarring and conjunctival overgrowth. In contrast, MIGS procedures aim to preserve conjunctival tissue, reducing the risk of these complications.
Effective Intraocular Pressure Control
MIGS procedures have proven effective in lowering and maintaining intraocular pressure, a crucial factor in managing glaucoma. They offer a viable option for patients with mild to moderate glaucoma, where traditional surgeries may be considered overly aggressive.
Compatibility with Cataract Surgery
One significant advantage of MIGS is its compatibility with cataract surgery, which is common in older patients. Patients requiring cataract and glaucoma treatment can undergo these procedures concurrently, reducing the need for multiple surgeries.
What are the Benefits of MIGS Procedures for Glaucoma Patients in WNY?
A common concern for older patients in WNY is the concurrent presence of both cataracts and glaucoma. Traditional glaucoma surgery and cataract surgery are typically separate procedures, which can be burdensome for patients and increase the risk of complications. MIGS procedures offer a solution to this issue by being compatible with cataract surgery. Patients who require treatment for cataracts and glaucoma can undergo MIGS and cataract surgery simultaneously. The benefit of this approach is is reduces the number of surgical interventions required and allows for the efficient management of both conditions, improving the overall quality of care for these patients.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery Has Fewer Complications
One of the most compelling benefits of MIGS procedures for glaucoma patients in Western New York is reducing postoperative complications. Traditional glaucoma surgery often involves the creation of a large, full-thickness flap in the conjunctiva, which can lead to complications such as infection, excessive scarring, and even conjunctival overgrowth. With their minimally invasive approach, MIGS procedures minimize these risks, making them a safer option for many patients.
In addition to reducing the likelihood of complications, MIGS can also be performed without disturbing the anatomy of the eye to a significant extent. Preservation of ocular integrity is particularly important for patients who may require further eye surgery in the future.
MIGS Procedures Have Minimized Postoperative Discomfort
Another significant advantage of MIGS procedures is the reduction in postoperative discomfort. Traditional glaucoma surgery can lead to significant pain and discomfort in the days following the procedure. In contrast, MIGS patients typically experience much milder discomfort, allowing for a quicker return to their daily activities and improved quality of life. This aspect of MIGS makes it an attractive option for patients who may be hesitant about the pain associated with traditional surgery.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery Preserves Conjunctival Tissue
The preservation of conjunctival tissue is a crucial benefit of MIGS procedures. Traditional glaucoma surgery often necessitates the creation of a conjunctival flap, which can lead to long-term complications such as scarring and overgrowth. It can be particularly problematic if the patient needs additional eye surgeries in the future, as the integrity of the conjunctiva may be compromised.
MIGS procedures aim to minimize manipulation of the conjunctiva, preserving this delicate tissue. MIGS can reduce the risk of complications but also ensure that the patient’s eye remains in optimal condition for any future procedures. Preserving conjunctival tissue is a significant advantage for patients in WNY seeking effective and sustainable glaucoma management.
MIGS Procedures are Effective at Controlling Intraocular Pressure
Effective control of intraocular pressure is the primary goal of glaucoma treatment, as elevated intraocular pressure is a major risk factor for optic nerve damage. MIGS procedures have demonstrated their ability to lower and maintain intraocular pressure, making them a valuable tool in managing glaucoma.
While traditional glaucoma surgery can be highly effective at lowering intraocular pressure, it is often considered a more aggressive approach. MIGS is particularly well-suited for patients with mild to moderate glaucoma, where the less invasive nature of these procedures can provide adequate pressure control without the risks associated with traditional surgery.
MIGS Procedures are Compatible with Cataract Surgery
A common concern for older patients in WNY is the concurrent presence of both cataracts and glaucoma. Traditional glaucoma surgery and cataract surgery are typically separate procedures, which can be burdensome for patients and increase the risk of complications. MIGS procedures offer a solution to this issue by being compatible with cataract surgery.
What is the Recovery Time for Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery in WNY?
The recovery time for MIGS procedures in WNY is significantly shorter when compared to traditional glaucoma surgery. Patients who undergo MIGS can often expect to return to their normal daily activities within a few days to a week. The minimally invasive nature of MIGS, smaller incisions, and reduced tissue manipulation contribute to this faster recovery.
In contrast, traditional glaucoma surgery often requires a longer recovery period. Creating a full-thickness conjunctival flap and extensive manipulation of the eye can result in a more prolonged healing process, with some patients experiencing discomfort for several weeks.
It’s important to note that individual recovery times can vary depending on the specific MIGS procedure, the patient’s overall health, and their adherence to postoperative care instructions. MIGS generally offers a swifter return to normal life, making it a more convenient option for patients in Western New York seeking glaucoma treatment.
Schedule a Consultation to Find Out if Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery in WNY is Right for You
MIGS has emerged as a game-changer in glaucoma treatment for patients seeking glaucoma treatment in Buffalo. The benefits of MIGS make it a highly appealing option for patients and glaucoma specialists in Buffalo. As advancements in ophthalmology continue, MIGS stands out as a revolutionary approach that is improving the outlook for individuals living with glaucoma in Western New York. Eye Care & Vision Associates (ECVA) offers patients expert glaucoma specialists in Buffalo specializing in modern, effective treatments for this disease. To talk with our staff about your treatment options, please contact one of our glaucoma specialists in Williamsville, Buffalo, Orchard Park, or Niagara Falls.