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New technique saves sight of much-loved author

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A new non-invasive technique has been developed in the UK for the application of Xen stent into the eye to treat acute glaucoma. 

The method has been developed by the London Ophthalmology Centre and results in less scar tissue and faster healing times for patients leading to better outcomes for the most serious cases of glaucoma. 

The micro device – which uses a stent with the dimensions of a human hair – and new technique has yielded life-changing results for patients, and was successfully used to save the sight of former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen.

Michael Rosen

Mr Vik Sharma, clinical director of London OC, and a consultant ophthalmologist, cataract and glaucoma specialist at the Royal Free NHS Hospital, London, says: “Michael woke from a coma in hospital and the first thing he noticed was that he had a distinct fogginess in his left eye. I knew that if he was not treated in the next week or two, he could go blind. 

“I used the Xen stent combined with a new technique to fit which creates a new pathway for the fluid to drain out of, but without the cuts and stitches, making it quicker and safer giving greater likelihood of a successful outcome for the patient.”

The traditional treatment pathway for glaucoma is managed with early diagnosis from an ophthalmologist where patients are usually prescribed drops to reduce the production of fluid and improve drainage. If this does not work, a short laser treatment can open the drainage tube to release fluid.

However, the traditional procedure, a trabeculectomy, involves opening the tissue at the front of the eye. A flap is made underneath the eyelid, where a minuscule hole allows the fluid to drain away. The flap is then stitched up and closed. 

Successful in 80 per cent of cases, scar tissue can form over the incision, causing the fluid to build up again. There can also be side-effects include blurred vision and possible loss of vision from a bleed in the eye and a risk of infection.

Mr Vik Sharma

The revised and enhanced treatment to apply the Xen stent into the eye results in less scar tissue and faster healing times for patients leading to better outcomes for the most serious cases of glaucoma.

London OC, in Queen Anne Street Hospital in Harley Street’s Medical Area, uses pioneering innovative techniques and technology including SLT laser; HD multifocal lenses and extended depth of focus lenses; minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS); Xen and preserflo stents; Hydrus and istent; and all glaucoma surgery.

Specialist treatment areas include; glaucoma, cataracts, vision correction, macular degeneration, trauma and injury, lens replacement, chronic and degenerative eye conditions.

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