What Is MIGS?
MIGS is the abbreviation for Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery. These procedures can effectively lower eye pressure to preserve and protect the optic nerve without the litany of risks associated with standard glaucoma surgeries. These new glaucoma treatments improve mild to moderate cases, and our Ophthalmologists can help you identify the right treatment plan to lower your eye pressure during your comprehensive eye exam.
These procedures deal with specific parts of the eye that prevent fluid drainage and increase eye pressure. The trabecular meshwork is a spongy tissue found near the front part of the eye (cornea) that drains fluid from inside the eye, and this tissue creates significant resistance for outflow in glaucoma patients. Schlemm’s canal is another part of the eye’s anatomy involved in glaucoma development and treatment. It is a circular vascular structure that circulates and drains the eye’s fluid (aqueous humor). Glaucoma develops when either of these parts of the eye is blocked, leading to optic nerve damage and vision loss.
Variations of MIGS offer faster healing and fewer risks than traditional surgery while still improving control over glaucoma symptoms. Some effectiveness is traded for the increased safety of MIGS over standard glaucoma surgery.
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries use microscopic-sized equipment and equally small incisions. MIGS can be broken down into four procedure types:
A microtrabeculectomy improves fluid drainage by inserting a tiny tube inside the eye that extends under the conjunctiva (tissue lining the outside of the eye). The procedure provides improved safety compared to the traditional trabeculectomy, which removes part of the trabecular meshwork and creates a new drainage pathway.
A small incision is made in the trabecular meshwork using a tiny device with microscopic control to destroy the lining or bypass it by placing a stent device. Trabecular surgery is best for moderate glaucoma as it may not lower eye pressure as effectively as other means.
The eye’s drainage system is augmented using small tubes with tiny openings to connect the suprachoroidal space from the retina to the eye’s wall. Suprachoroidal shunts can treat moderate to severe glaucoma cases and lower eye pressure with minimal serious complications. Our Ophthalmologists may perform this MIGS type with cataract surgery, depending on the shunt.
While the above procedures focus on relieving the eye pressure caused by glaucoma through better drainage or redirecting outflow, other MIGS procedures decrease fluid production to avoid increased eye pressure.
Benefits Of MIGS
MIGS does not eliminate the need for traditional surgery for glaucoma treatment. Still, the minimally-invasive procedures have decreased the number of people who need invasive glaucoma surgery to manage intraocular pressure. MIGS provides broader treatment options for patients who previously had to wait until the condition was severe to qualify for traditional surgical intervention.
Some MIGS types offer a moderate pressure decrease, while others show significant improvement. The most substantial benefit of minimally invasive glaucoma surgery is the ability to tailor the procedure to your individual needs based on the stage of glaucoma and your lifestyle.
Discuss Your Glaucoma Treatment With An Ophthalmologist
Our experienced Ophthalmologists specialize in glaucoma and will discuss your options for MIGS and other treatments during your eye exam at our Largo office. Contact St. Michael’s Eye & Laser Institute today to schedule your appointment.