Yesterday’s (November, 18 2008) Aches & Claims section by Laura Johannes in the WSJ reported on the new minimally invasive surgery called canaloplasty. Here are some highlights from this article:
Canaloplasty is one of the newest alternatives to trabeculectomy and involves forcing open a drainage canal, similar to what cardiologists do to unblock clogged arteries. The procedure is sometimes called “angioplasty fo the eye”. In canaloplasty, an incision is made in the eye and a thin catheter is inserted into Schlemm’s Canal. Instead of a balloon, a thick clear gel is injected to open the canal. In addition, a suture, is placed insede the canal and pulled tight to stretch open the trabecular meshwork says Richard Lewis, a Sacramento, California eye surgeon who serves as a consultant to iScience Interventional Corp, the company that sells the the catheter. Dr Lewis presented the results of a 14-center study at the American Academy of Ophthalmology on November 9 in Atlanta.
Independent eye surgeons say canaloplasty is a worthy option, but not necessarily the best choice for many patients. Kuldev Singh, a Stanford, California eye surgeon who is chariman of the nonprofit American Glaucoma Society‘s patient care committee says based on current data, he would recommend laser surgery to patients looking for a safer option, and trabeculectomy to patients at serious risk for blindness if their eye pressure isn’t lowered significantly.
Dr. Lewis says that the location of the canaloplasty incision, off to one side of the eye, leaves plenty of room for a trbeculectomy later. Additional trials are now beginning that will compare canaloplasty to trabeculectomy and to medical therapy alone.