Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders characterized by the progressive loss of nerve tissue, often leading to blindness. It is the second leading cause of vision loss in the world, affecting an estimated 68 million people globally, with over 5 million in the United States and 12 million in Europe. As is the case with most eye diseases, as patients advance in age, their likelihood to be affected by glaucoma increases.
It has been previously demonstrated that the most effective way to prevent glaucoma damage is to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP). Reducing the IOP improves blood flow to the nerve tissue consequently slowing down or halting progression in nerve damage. Therefore, the primary goal of treatment is reducing elevated intraocular pressure. Current treatments for open-angle glaucoma (OAG) include medications, laser trabeculoplasty, and a variety of surgical solutions. Treatment depends on the progression of the disease, the patient’s endurance of the therapy and its efficacy in reducing IOP.
Medicinal treatment is often considered the first course of action. However, given the complexity of regimens due to the chronic use of multiple medications and daily administration requirements, as well as the severity of side effects, an absence of a beneficial effect can be observed. Other considerations include patients not adhering to medical orders and not taking their medication consistently. When medicine is no longer effective, many physicians turn to laser trabeculoplasty. However, laser trabeculoplasty has not been able to demonstrate a long-term reduction of IOP. Once all of the above proves unsuccessful, the standard course of treatment is a surgical procedure to increase the drainage.
Laser-assisted sclerectomy procedures such as CLASS are among the surgical alternatives for treating glaucoma. Its high safety profile and its proven efficacy makes it a popular choice for surgeons and patient alike.
IOPtima developed the IOPtiMate® System, a unique, minimally invasive CO2 laser-assisted system for treating glaucoma. Utilizing the particular properties of the CO2 laser, CLASS works to thin the white part of the eye (the sclera wall) through ablative surges to the natural drainage area (the Schlemm’s canal), without penetrating the eye. The CO2 laser permits the adequate, functional percolation of intraocular fluid from the eye through the remaining membrane in a simple, highly controlled and targeted manner. Unlike other invasive procedures, CLASS does not allow for the penetration of the eye, as infrared CO2 laser radiation is absorbed and blocked by water and aqueous solutions, rendering its ablating capabilities ineffective when applied over wet tissues.
Following the CLASS procedure, the remaining thin scleral layer remains intact, without penetration into the eye. There is no penetration into the eye, nor a need to insert foreign bodies into the eye, which is known to be the source of most ophthalmic surgery complications, perilous incidents or side effects. The IOPtiMate® System also demonstrated very positive results when deployed in combination cataract and glaucoma surgery.