Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve. This nerve sends signals to your brain that are turned into the images that you see. If left untreated, glaucoma will cause a slow but steady loss of vision.
To understand glaucoma, it helps to learn what happens in a healthy eye. In a healthy eye, the amount of fluid made in the eye is equal to the amount of fluid that drains out of the eye. This creates a normal amount of pressure. In an eye with glaucoma, there is a buildup of fluid. This buildup can happen because of a block or clog in the outflow pathway (where fluid normally drains out of the eye). The result is a rise in pressure above the normal level, which damages the optic nerve.
Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. The XEN Gel Stent has been approved for treating open angle glaucoma in Europe since 2011. Inside the United States, the XEN Gel Stent is an investigational device, which means that it has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
XEN Gel Stent
The XEN Gel Stent is a new way to treat glaucoma. The XEN Gel Stent is placed in your eye to make a new permanent pathway to reduce the amount of fluid in your eye. This helps preserve your vision by reducing the pressure in your eye to a normal level.
It is a very small tube made of a soft but permanent gelatin material. The implant is 6mm in length and nearly as thin as a strand of human hair.
This photograph shows the XEN Gel Stent alongside another previous generation glaucoma implant.
The procedure to insert the XEN Gel Stent is more straightforward and less invasive than other similar treatments for glaucoma.
Although the XEN Gel Stent is an investigational device in the US, it has been approved for use in Europe in patients with primary open angle glaucoma where previous medical treatments have failed.