Glaucoma affects an estimated 60 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of blindness. Common treatment options include eye drops and oral medications. Because of adherence, many patients progress to finally requiring invasive surgery. Now with the growth of new, more effective surgical methods, such as microinvasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), there’s increasing hope for better disease management and, potentially, a life without daily eye drops. 

“Glaucoma patients are often prescribed multiple medications to help control pressure within the eye and this can be difficult for patients to manage,” says Jim Di Filippo, vice president and general manager of US Surgical at Alcon, which offers a new MIGS option called the CyPass® Micro-Stent for patients with mild-to-moderate primary open-angle glaucoma undergoing cataract surgery. “Over the last decade, we have seen a tremendous amount of innovation in other ophthalmic areas such as cataracts, but less so with glaucoma. We are always looking for new solutions to address unmet medical needs and the CyPass® Micro-Stent is an important option that is less invasive than traditional glaucoma surgery, with the potential to help reduce patient dependence on prescription eye drops.”

“I see glaucoma patients all day long, and commonly they complain about difficulty with complying with their medication, and they want to know what other options are out there.”

Gaps in current glaucoma treatment

Glaucoma results from damage to the fibers and structure of the optic nerve, causing vision loss, explains Dr. Constance Okeke, an ophthalmologist based in Norfolk, Virginia. In fact, glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide, according to the National Institutes of Health, and it often co-exists in older age with other eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, Okeke says.

Dr. Brian Flowers, an ophthalmologist in Fort Worth, Texas, notes that people with glaucoma often don’t present symptoms until the disease has progressed and their vision begins waning, at which point they make an appointment with their eye doctor.

Most commonly after a glaucoma diagnosis, doctors prescribe eye drops, which aim to relieve pressure and help patients see more clearly. But frequent dosing — from one to as many as five doses per day — are necessary. This can lead to adherence issues, Okeke says.

“I see glaucoma patients all day long, and commonly they complain about difficulty with complying with their medication, and they want to know what other options are out there,” Okeke says. “The exciting thing is there are a lot of new, emerging techniques and treatments for glaucoma.”

The future of treating glaucoma

With MIGS options like the CyPass® Micro-Stent, patients with glaucoma may see their need for medication reduced or eliminated, Okeke says. The CyPass® Micro-Stent works by making new space available for excess fluid to flow from the optic nerve, thereby relieving pressure in the eye and reducing stress on the nerve fibers – thus allowing nerve fibers to be preserved and live longer, she says.

As an early adopter of the CyPass® Micro-Stent, Okeke says she’s seen promising results among her patients. “When I have a slam dunk of getting the patient’s glaucoma better controlled and reducing their medication burden, this can improve their quality of life. They can minimize potential complications from using multiple drops, and they have less concern about having to go to the pharmacy to get all their medications,” she explains.

“Glaucoma doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all treatment,” Okeke says. “There isn’t one technology or technique that we can use on everybody and get the exact same results. So, we really need to be able to have multiple tools in our pocket so that we can tailor our treatment plan based on the individual.”

Visit for more information about how you can address your glaucoma at the same time as cataract surgery and to find a CyPass® Micro-Stent surgeon in your local area.

Important information about the CyPass® Micro-Stent

The CyPass® Micro-Stent is a prescription medical device that is used to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma who are undergoing cataract surgery.  The CyPass® Micro-Stent should not be used in patients with other types of glaucoma, or in patients whose eye anatomy or condition is unusual (for instance, if the area in the patient’s eye is too narrow to implant the CyPass® Micro-Stent, or if there is a condition that may prevent the eye surgeon from seeing where it will be implanted).  If IOP is not adequately maintained after implantation of a CyPass® Micro-Stent, additional therapy may be needed for IOP control.

As with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications associated with routine cataract surgery and implantation of a CyPass® Micro-Stent.  The risks of CyPass® Micro-Stent implantation with cataract surgery are similar to the risks of having cataract surgery alone; however, there are some additional risks associated with CyPass® Micro-Stent implantation.  There is a small risk that the CyPass® Micro-Stent implantation will not be successful or the device may not be properly positioned.  Other risks that may be related to use of the CyPass® Micro-Stent include bleeding during surgery, inflammation, tissue trauma, fluid collection in the back of the eye, changes in eye pressure that could affect vision, the feeling that there is something in the eye, eye pain, glaucoma disease progression, or the IOL may move from its original position.  Additional surgeries may be needed to address these risks.

Talk to your eye doctor about the risks and benefits of the CyPass® Micro-Stent.  For more information including a patient information brochure please visit