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    A new way to treat glaucoma

Doctors at Mayo Clinic in Florida and Minnesota are using a new technique to stabilize glaucoma and preserve vision.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that slowly damages the vision. A leading cause of blindness, it occurs when the eye’s natural drainage system fails to work properly. Fluid builds up inside the eye leading to elevated pressure that can permanently damage the optic nerve.

Patients with mild glaucoma usually are treated with eyedrops. For more advanced cases, surgeons can use lasers to enhance the drainage system or construct a new drainage system.

The new procedure, called Trabectome, can be more effective than drops alone but less invasive and safer than standard surgery. The surgeon uses a tiny probe to open the eye’s drainage system through an incision in the cornea.

“It removes a small portion of the eye’s natural drainage system so that it functions better,” says Rajesh Shetty, M.D., Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist.

A routine exam can help identify the early signs of glaucoma. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an eye exam every two years if you’re between the ages of 18 and 60, and every year if you’re older than 60.

Click here to see a video explaining Trabectome.

Catherine Benson is a communications consultant in the Department of Public Affairs, Mayo Clinic in Rochester

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