Starkville, Miss. (WTVA) -- According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Currently, there is no cure, and once vision is lost, it cannot be recovered.
However, Starkville ophthalmologist and OCH Regional Medical Center’s Chief of Staff Jim Brown, MD, is bringing hope to patients suffering from the disease.
Brown is the first ophthalmologist in Mississippi and Louisiana to use the implant procedure to relieve the symptoms of mild to moderate glaucoma.
“I really place a premium on giving patients the most advanced technology. If I learn about a new procedure, I take the opportunity to become proficient in that area so my patients can receive quality care,” said Dr. Brown.
The latest method is performed concurrent with cataract surgery using the iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass, which was made for patients with cataracts and open angle glaucoma.
iStent is the smallest medical device to be approved by the Food & Drug Administration.
“Of all cataract patients, 20-30 percent have glaucoma with a mild to moderate open angle. The goal is to reduce eye pressure by creating a permanent opening that improves fluid outflow. Patients who’ve undergone this operation have been able to reduce and sometimes cease their medication use,” explained Dr. Brown. “Mississippi has one of the highest rates of glaucoma in the country and for us to have the technology to reduce the amount of money spent on medication is exciting.”
As reported by the FDA, an ophthalmologist is required to undergo certification with the technology.
But as with any medical procedure, a patient’s medical history has to be considered in order to determine whether or not they are a good candidate for treatment.
It is estimated that over 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma, but because there may be no warning symptoms, less than half of those people know they have it.
More than 10 million visits are made to physicians each year for glaucoma.
Those most at risk include people over 60 or with a family history of glaucoma. Other risk factors include diabetes and hypertension.
“The benefits to my patients are what prompted me to receive this certification. Knowing that I can have a positive impact on their lives prompted me to obtain this certification and reminds me why I chose this profession,” said Dr. Brown.
Dr. Brown practices at the Eye & Laser Center of Starkville.
He is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.