Glaucoma is a disease that occurs when the pressure within the eye increases, and causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the part of the eye that carries the images we see to the brain. When damage occurs, blind spots in the peripheral (outer) vision occur. These blind spots are usually not noticeable until there is significant damage to the optic nerve and damage to the nerve is irreversible. If the entire optic nerve is destroyed, blindness results, but Glaucoma can be prevented with early detection and treatment.







The most common form of glaucoma is chronic open-angle glaucoma. This occurs when there is an imbalance between fluid being made by the eye and drained from the eye. This imbalance gradually increases of the pressure in your eye which causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to visual loss or even blindness.

This is a true eye emergency. Unless this type of glaucoma is treated quickly, blindness can result. Symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma attack may include; blurred vision, severe eye pain, head ache, nausea and vomiting. If you have any of these symptoms call your eye doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, especially among the elderly. Some risk factors include age, family history of glaucoma, African ancestry and past eye injuries. Nearsightedness, corneal thickness and some systemic health problems, such as diabetes and poor circulation are also known risk factors.

The best way to detect glaucoma is with a routine eye exam. During this eye exam the pressure in your eye will be checked and your doctor will evaluate your optic nerve. If there is any suspicion of glaucoma, additional testing will be done, such as an inspection of the drainage angle of your eye and a peripheral vision test of each eye.

Treatment for Glaucoma
Glaucoma can usually be treated with daily eye drops. If the drops do not lower the pressure on the optic nerve, laser surgery to widen the drainage channels is possible. If the eye drops and laser treatment do not adequately lower the pressure, traditional surgery in the operating room can be done.

Patients suffering from mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma now have access to an exciting new treatment option designed to help reduce pressure in the eye and slow the progression of glaucoma.

The iStent® Trabecular Micro-Bypass is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. iStent® is designed to create a permanent opening in your trabecular meshwork (the eye’s draining system), and works continuously to improve the outflow of fluid from your eyes to help control eye pressure.

Ophthalmologists, Andrew Riemer, D.O., Brandon Riemer, D.O. and Dr. Steffany Straight, M.D., of Riemer Eye Center, are among the few certified Michigan surgeons, located in the Ludington-Manistee-Cadillac communities, to perform this surgery using the iStent® implant.

Currently, iStent® can only be implanted at the time of cataract surgery. Once implanted, iStent® begins to work safely to decrease pressure within the eye. It is a minimally invasive procedure and with it, patients may experience a reduction in the need for glaucoma medications long term.

How iStent® works:
Glaucoma is associated with increased fluid pressure in the eye. The primary cause of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients is a narrowing or complete blockage of the eye’s draining system.

The benefits of the iStent®:

  • Implanting of the iStent® creates a permanent opening in your eye’s draining system
  • Improves your eyes natural fluid outflow to safely lower the intraocular pressure (IOP)
  • Works continuously to improve the outflow of excess fluid from your eyes
  • Improves outflow with a single bypass
  • Reduction in the need for glaucoma ocular medications is at the discretion of your physician

Are you a candidate for the iStent® implant?
Currently, the iStent® is only used for patients suffering from mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma in conjunction with cataract surgery and patients who currently are being treated with ocular medications. If you have both glaucoma and cataracts, your doctor can help you determine if you are a good candidate for the iStent®.