Understanding Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye. This nerve transmits signals from the light sensitive layer in the eye, called the retina, to the brain. For most patients who have glaucoma, the eye pressure is critically high. Without treatment, glaucoma will cause a slow but steady loss of vision, and eventually blindness.


What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

There are typically no glaucoma warning signs; there is no redness or pain to indicate that anything is wrong. Loss of contrast sensitivity and peripheral vision are usually unnoticed by most patients until late in the disease. This is why glaucoma is often called the „silent thief of sight.“


How is glaucoma detected?

Glaucoma is diagnosed by a number of examination of the eye that includes eye pressure measurement (tonometry), examining the optic nerve visually (ophthalmoscopy, optical coherence tomography, OCT), and assessment of optic nerve function (visual field test; perimetry).


What causes high eye pressure?

The eye needs a certain amount of pressure inside it to maintain its shape for visual function. The eye pressure (also called intraocular pressure) is created by watery fluid inside the eye, called aqueous, that is continually produced and leaves the eye through a tiny drainage channel system joining the blood stream. In the healthy eye, all the watery fluid produced, drains out of the eye easily. In an eye with glaucoma, the drainage channels often become partially blocked, so fluid cannot drain freely from the eye and builds up. The result is an increased pressure inside the eye above the level that exceeds the tolerance and damages irreversible the optic nerve.


Stegmann Canal Expander

What is the Stegmann Canal Expander?

150x magnification of SCE and size comparison to a human hair
The Stegmann Canal Expander is a new way to treat open-angle glaucoma and has been approved in Europe in 2012. This innovative micro-device looks like a very small fenestrated tube made of a biocompatible, long-term clinically proven and FDA approved polyimide material. The Stegmann Canal Expander® fulfills all safety aspects as it is non-allergic, non-metal, and does not derive from animal by-products like gelatin or collagen. Therefore, it does not restrict to future magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and does not limit any ethical or religious beliefs. The implant is 9mm in length and has about the diameter of a strand of human hair. The smooth polished surface of the micro-device allows an atraumatic implantation without harming the drainage channel.


How does the Stegmann Canal Expander lower eye pressure?

dual_mechanism The Stegmann Canal Expander is placed in the natural drainage channel of the eye, called Schlemm canal, to open permanently this channel, and to maximize the fluid to drain out in a controlled way. Improved drainage reduces the eye pressure to a normal level and helps to prevent further visual loss from glaucoma.