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Many glaucoma experts, including Dr. Rohit Varma, founder of the Southern California Eye Institute, have devoted many years to developing advanced glaucoma treatments that use new technologies. These treatments are designed and thoroughly tested to work better at reducing internal eye pressure and to make recovery faster, easier, and safer for patients.

“Minimally invasive” means that the glaucoma surgeons cut less eye tissue with scalpels so and less healing is needed. Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) is possible because the surgeon’s tools have become microscopic in size and tiny new devices and tubes can be implanted in the eye. Often, MIGS improves the natural processes for draining eye fluids, instead of making new paths for fluids to escape.

Some of the glaucoma laser surgery techniques discussed in previous blogs are considered minimally invasive. These include precise laser surgeries such as selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) and endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation (ECP) because they require only minor cutting with no stitches, and have a shorter recovery time.

In the chart below, we list various kinds of MIGS. In later blogs, we provide more detailed information about the specific procedures. You are most likely to find glaucoma specialists who are highly experienced and skilled at MIGS at a Glaucoma Center of Excellence.

It’s important to remember that traditional glaucoma treatments are very effective and MIGS may not be right for you. Talk to your glaucoma expert about the best treatments you can use as part of a glaucoma management plan that will help lower your inner eye pressure and prevent further loss of eyesight.

Glaucoma at a Glance: Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)

The various types of MIGS reduce inner eye pressure in three different ways: improve natural fluid drainage, move fluid outside the eye, or decrease fluid production.

General Types of Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery and How They Work

MIGS that Improve Natural Fluid Drainage
Canaloplasty Opens and widens the Schlemm’s canal, a natural drainage path
iStent Creates new paths for fluid to flow into the eye’s natural drainage system
Glaucoma Treatment System Creates new paths for fluid to flow into the eye’s natural drainage system and widens the Schlemm’s canal
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) Removes a portion of the trabecular network to improve flow
MIGS that Move Fluids Outside the Eye
Gel Stent (Dr. Rohit Varma led one of the major studies that led to FDA approval of the XEN Gel Stent) Works like a tiny tube shunt to move fluids around the trabecular network and into other drainage channels
MIGS that Decrease Fluid Production
Cytophotocoagulation (covered in a previous blog) Treats fluid-producing cells with a laser beam to reduce fluid production

The goal of this series of weekly blogs is to help you feel informed and confident, wherever you are in learning about glaucoma.

Visit weekly to learn more.

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