Queensland first glaucoma treatment device

31 Jan, 2024

Another Queensland Eye Institute (QEI) ophthalmologist has recorded a first for the state, with Dr Geoffrey Ryan treating glaucoma patients with a new device to halt vision loss. Leading ophthalmologists completed the first surgeries in Australia using the new minimally invasive device in January, with QEI’s Dr Ryan leading the charge for Queensland at the Mater Hospital Brisbane.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Australia, with primary open-angle glaucoma accounting for around 90 percent of cases.

Primary open angle glaucoma is a condition where raised pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve and affects vision. The eye naturally pumps and drains clear fluid to maintain eye health but when drainage slows or is blocked, pressure builds. Over time, the increased pressure causes vision loss.

Treatments for this type of glaucoma include eye drops, laser therapy and sometimes surgery. Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) aims to bypass blockages so fluid inside the eye can drain, reducing pressure.

The new MIGS device used in Queensland for the first time by Dr Ryan is a 5mm long drain implanted in the eye’s anterior chamber. Unlike other similar devices, which work by opening the natural drainage pathway, the new device is positioned in a different space and works by enhancing the natural outflow, creating new drainage pathways to reduce pressure and save sight.

Dr Ryan’s expertise in advanced anterior segment surgery and subspecialty training in glaucoma and cornea made him an ideal candidate to spearhead the roll out of this new device in Queensland.

Drawing of eye cross-section indicating fluid moving around a small tubular device
iSTAR MINIject Source: glaucoma.org.au