East Suffolk and North Essex Trust launches new ‘pioneering’ glaucoma surgery

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust has launched a new ‘pioneering’ glaucoma surgery that takes up to 20 minutes. 

The minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MiGS) will involve surgeons implanting a small strip of sponge – called a MINIject – into the corner of the eye, known as the irido-corneal drainage angle.  

According to the trust, the new treatment takes around 15 to 20 minutes to complete, in which patients can recover ‘quickly’ and are able to return to driving, and even swimming, within a week. 

By deploying MINIect, the treatment could serve as an alternative to more traditional surgical techniques – such as artificial reservoir treatments created to collect the excess fluid – which can have a long recovery of up to four months and lead to side effects such as gritty eyes, the organisation says.  

Chrys Dimitriou, Consultant Eye Surgeon, commented on the new treatment: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of this pioneering new treatment. It could make a real difference to hundreds of patients every year by helping to prevent further sight loss and reducing their reliance on eye drops, which can cause red, dry or itchy eyes. Glaucoma is a debilitating condition which affects more than half a million people in the UK.  

“It is primarily caused when the eye fails to drain excess fluid, which in turn leads to elevated pressure which damages the optic nerve. Although the condition is irreversible, this fantastic treatment can stop it or delay it from progressing and help to prevent the patient from going blind, which in turn has a huge impact on their quality of life. 

“The introduction of MINIject will allow us to offer these individuals safe, effective treatment which has a long-lasting effect and will help prevent their sight loss from progressing further.”