A leading cause of blindness is glaucoma.
Eye drops are a very common treatment for glaucoma, but only about half of the patients take them.
The reason, they forget or they are too expensive to buy.
There's now a new procedure to help glaucoma, and it's being done right here in the Tri-States.
Dr. James Hayashi was the first doctor in Illinois to be trained on the Trabectome procedure. It's a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that helps clear up glaucoma.
"In some ways, it's so logical. You wonder why somebody didn't think of that that before. When you have glaucoma, the main problem, the main resistance is trabecular meshwork. This machine goes in an strips out a piece of that trabecular meshwork," says Dr. Hayashi.
Your trabecular meshwork is like a screen that controls the outflow of fluid in your eye. When you have glaucoma, fluid builds up, the screen gets clogged and pressure builds up causing your vision to get worse.
"This basically goes in and removes that screen and the pressure can flow more evenly and the pressure is lowers," say Dr. Hayashi.
During the procedure, the patient is under sedation. A tiny incision is made across the chamber of the affected eye. The diseased tissue is removed with an electrical pulse, and debris is washed out of the eye. Recovery time is pretty quick. Dr. Hayashi says patients are usually sent home the same day, and they can go back to normal activity very soon.
"Most of the patients who get treated with this can have a reduction in the drops they take. If you're lucky, and many are, you can eliminate the need for drops all together," says Dr. Hayashi.
This procedure is for people with mild to moderate cases of glaucoma. Dr. Hayashi says it's another option for people who aren't ready for the full blown glaucoma surgery that can carry a host of complications.
For more information on this new procedure, you can contact Dr. James Hayashi at his office at 217-224-2020.