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iStent Inject for glaucoma

Why you might need this treatment, how it works and what to expect from your recovery

iStent Inject is a tiny device used to treat glaucoma.   

Glaucoma is a significant eye problem, where there is increase in eye pressure. This in turn damages your optic nerve leading to reduced vision and can lead to blindness.  

Your eye's normal drainage pathway is through a part of the eye known as the trabecular meshwork. This surrounds the iris, the coloured part of the eye, and is the system that regulates pressure release.   

iStent Inject is a microscopic device that is implanted into the eye and helps with drainage. This glaucoma surgery reduces the intraocular pressure to stop the damage to your optic nerve. 

Glaucoma is a progressive condition that can and possibly will lead to significant reduction in vision.   

It is possible to treat glaucoma with drugs and eye drops. Sometimes they are sufficient, but it is possible that the pressure will not be reduced enough to treat the condition. Eye drop treatments can be difficult to manage as they need to be taken every single day without fail.  

All drug treatments carry the possibility of side effects and allergic reactions, and there is also the possibility that they cannot bring the pressure problem completely under control.   

iStent Inject can be used in addition to other treatments. Each patient's treatment is different and needs to be tailored to their specific circumstances.  

The iStent Inject device is in fact two small – very small, they're the smallest things currently implanted into the human body and one fifth the size of a grain of rice – titanium stents which are added to the eye. A stent is a small method of holding open tissue to allow the passage of liquid through it. The stents are inserted into in the same area as the eyes' natural drainage system.   

Topical or local anaesthesia will be used for this treatment. The process will only take 10 minutes once the anaesthesia is complete.   

iStent Inject is minimally invasive. This means that the stents are placed in the eye with microscopic equipment and tiny incisions. There is a specialist tool used to do this.   

It is possible to combine iStent with cataract surgery, which takes around 30 minutes. This is recommended if there is evidence of glaucoma as well as the cataracts that are being operated upon.

The eye that was operated upon will be covered with a clear shield which you will remove the next day. Driving is not possible immediately after the operation.  

The speed of recovery from iStent Inject varies from person to person, but the vast majority go home the same day.  

The time for pressure reduction will vary on the individual patient but for most to see the full effect takes up to 3 months.  

As part of the recovery process there will be another examination one month after insertion and again if needed. The surgeon will advise on changes in eye drop regime as the effect takes hold.

All surgery carries the risk of infection and pain, but with iStent Inject those risks are low. There could be inflammation of the eye and swelling, but these effects fade.  

As with any eye operation, there is the possibility of reduced vision as a result. This is not desired, of course, but uncontrolled glaucoma can lead to reduction in vision. The decision to use the iStent is always a balance of risk versus benefit for the individual patient.  

As a mechanical device it is possible that the iStent will become blocked over time. It is possible to remedy this problem.  

The iStent is made of titanium. This is inert with respect to the human body and does not cause allergic effects. It is sufficiently small that it is not a problem for any future MRI or other scans. Also, titanium does not set off airport or other security scanners.  

iStent Inject for glaucoma should not change your glasses prescription. If significant change does occur this should be reported back this will be treated by your surgeon. It is usually possible to resume the use of contact lenses within a month of the procedure.  

In very few cases, further treatment can be necessary as a result of iStent – for example, if the eye pressure falls too low. It is very important to keep follow-up appointments for this reason.  

Our 500 trusted eye care experts offer personalised care at over 40 Circle Health centres across the UK.   

Our experts in affordable eye care offer fast access to treatment in a safe and comfortable environment.   

Your treatment will provide the best possible outcome, along with excellent value for money, to help improve your quality of life.

What you pay will depend on the exact treatment you need. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation.

iStent injection for glaucoma

Consultant ophthalmologist Mr Mamun Rahman shares more about the iStent inject, which is inserted in your eye to lower the pressure in your eye and control the symptoms of glaucoma, such as blurred vision.

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