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Carolina Eye Associates is one of the first eye centers in the nation to implant a new FDA-approved glaucoma device during eye surgery. The CyPass Micro-Stent is a small device that is implanted just below the surface of the eye. It is designed to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and may reduce or eliminate the need for glaucoma medications.

Winston Garris, M.D.
Winston Garris, M.D.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is associated with a build-up of excess fluid when the fluid can no longer properly exit the eye. As a result, IOP levels increase. The CyPass Micro-Stent is designed to enhance one of the natural drainage pathways in the eye. This allows the excess fluid in the eye to drain, thus reducing IOP levels.

The newly FDA-approved device has a several potential benefits – it may reduce or eliminate the need for glaucoma medications; it is designed to provide continuous control of IOP; it can be conveniently implanted during cataract surgery; and is less invasive than conventional glaucoma surgery.

Carolina Eye glaucoma and cataract surgeon Winston Garris, M.D. performed the first four surgeries at the Eye Surgery Center of the Carolinas in Southern Pines. “This new treatment option offers cataract patients with mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma a less-invasive means of lowering IOP than traditional glaucoma surgery and permits decreased dependence on topical glaucoma medication.” said Dr. Garris. “We are now able to access a part of the eye that we have never safely and reliably been able to do in the past.”

Globally, more than 60 million people are affected by glaucoma that can lead to progressive damage of the optic nerve. Early diagnosis of glaucoma is critical to manage the disease, as it is often asymptomatic and therefore can go undetected until it is at an advanced stage. As the disease progresses, patients may experience loss of peripheral (side) vision, tunnel vision, or blind spots. Glaucoma can eventually result in gradual, irreversible loss of vision and blindness. The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown; however, elevated IOP is generally present and is the only known modifiable risk factor. Glaucoma is a chronic disease and patients can be treated with eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these methods.

For appointment inquires or for more information on the Cypass Micro-Stent and the services offered by Carolina Eye and the Eye Surgery Center, call (910) 295-2100 or (800) 733-5357.