Dr Nathan Kerr at the glaucoma community information forum Photo: CERA
By Helen Carter
A new, minimally invasive procedure for refractory glaucoma has arrived in Australia.
The XEN Gel Stent is a tiny 6 mm collagen-derived gelatin tube, only slightly thicker than a human hair, which is inserted in a minimally invasive procedure via a corneal incision.
Ophthalmologist and glaucoma surgeon Dr Nathan Kerr from the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) is one of the first Australian surgeons to perform the XEN procedure.
He said the gel stent was implanted in a 15-minute day surgery procedure under local anaesthetic.
‘The XEN Gel Stent is designed to safely lower eye pressure to treat glaucoma and is less invasive than traditional surgical treatments allowing for a quicker recovery,’ Dr Kerr said. ‘It is so small that most people will not see or feel it. And unlike eye drops, the XEN works continuously to lower the pressure inside the eye.’
The stent creates a new drainage channel to the subconjunctival space, thereby lowering the pressure inside the eye.
‘The XEN can be performed alone or in combination with cataract surgery for refractory open angle glaucoma unresponsive to maximum tolerated medical therapy, including in eyes where prior glaucoma surgery has failed.
‘The XEN was invented by Australian ophthalmologist Professor Bill Morgan, has undergone clinical trials worldwide and is now entering clinical practice,’ Dr Kerr told a recent glaucoma community information forum.
‘Unlike conventional glaucoma surgery, there is no cutting or suturing of the conjunctiva and sclera, resulting in less trauma, a better safety profile and potentially less intense post-operative follow-up.
‘We are bringing the XEN to CERA to investigate its potential advantages over conventional glaucoma surgery,’ he said.
Dr Kerr has just returned from Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, where he trained in the latest advances in minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, and was one of the first Australian surgeons to be certified to perform the XEN procedure.
‘Rapid advances in technology mean we can now offer patients a range of options to safely lower their eye pressure. Our focus is on not only saving sight but improving quality of life. The future for patients with glaucoma is very bright,’ Dr Kerr said.
The Xen implant compared to the standard implant
Tagged as: Glaucoma, Therapeutics