March 11, 2004.
Source: Minnesota Eye Consultants.
Minnesota Eye Consultants, here, has been selected as one of only 15 U.S. investigational sites to participate in on-going clinical trials (Phase III) for the Eyepass(TM) Glaucoma Implant. The device represents an emerging surgical treatment option for glaucoma, the second-leading cause of blindness.
"The Eyepass(TM) Implant, an investigational device, is designed to lower abnormally high intraocular pressure, which is the major risk factor for vision loss from glaucoma," said Dr. Thomas W. Samuelson, board-certified ophthalmologist and a founding partner of Minnesota Eye Consultants. "We are very encouraged by the preliminary results from the earlier phases of the clinical trials surrounding the Eyepass(TM) Implant, particularly for patients who have failed to respond to conventional medical therapies or laser procedures for glaucoma."
Approximately 2.2 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, and as many as 2 million more may be undiagnosed, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation and the National Eye Institute. "Many patients are unaware that they have glaucoma until it progresses to more advanced stages," said Dr. Samuelson. "While there is no cure for glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce its progression by as much as 50 percent."
Glaucoma involves damage to the optic nerve, most often from high pressure caused by poor drainage of a fluid (aqueous humor), which supplies nutrients to the cornea and lens, according to Dr. Samuelson. Some forms of glaucoma cause symptoms such as blurred vision, severe eye pain, headache, rainbow- colored halos around lights, nausea and vomiting.
The more common form of glaucoma, known as open-angle glaucoma, typically does not exhibit any outward signs or symptoms, according to Dr. Samuelson. Rather, the disease develops gradually and can go undetected for years. "An annual, fully dilated eye exam is the best means to monitor eye health and pressure and detect glaucoma in its earliest stages," he said.
Conventional glaucoma treatments include eye drops or oral medications, laser procedures and/or surgery to lower internal eye pressure by opening drainage passageways for the trapped fluid.
The Eyepass(TM) Implant is promising because it may significantly reduce the risk of glaucoma surgery, such as the potential for serious eye infections for the remainder of the patient's life, according to Dr. Samuelson. "The Eyepass(TM) Implant is intended to bypass the diseased portion of the eye's drainage system, but utilizes the normal fluid pathways downstream from the obstruction," he said. "The Eyepass(TM) Implant may extend the options to potentially provide a vital therapy for patients with open-angle glaucoma who have not benefited from conventional treatments," said Dr. Samuelson.
He added, "Earlier studies suggest its safety and ability to lower abnormally high intraocular pressure. We're looking forward to participating in on-going clinical trials leading to FDA approval."
Dr. Samuelson has been recognized internationally for research supporting the medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma, as well as laser vision correction of refractive disorders. He is president of the International Society of Spaeth Fellows - Wills Eye Hospital's glaucoma fellows program, and a recipient of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Achievement Award, honoring physicians who significantly contribute to the Academy's educational endeavors.
For more information about glaucoma, or to inquire about eligibility for the Eyepass(TM) Implant or other upcoming research studies at Minnesota Eye Consultant, please call 1-800-EYE-TO-EYE or visit the website at www.mneye.com .
Minnesota Eye Consultants, the ophthalmology practice of Drs. Richard L. Lindstrom, Thomas W. Samuelson, David R. Hardten, Elizabeth A. Davis, William J. Lipham and Patrick J. Riedel, is a nationally recognized leader in the treatment of glaucoma, as well as corneal, cataract and refractive surgery.
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