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Saving Eyesight Through New Tools #2: Continuous IO Pressure Monitors – A Report from the CARES Conference @ Wills Eye Institute

Posted by Tom Cockley | Posted on October 17, 2012

How would you like to be able to monitor a glaucoma patient’s intraocular (IO) pressure every day?  Although at the present time glaucoma cannot be cured, it can often be treated by controlling intraocular (IO) pressures. Controlling IO pressures can save vision.  But how often can you, or do you, check your patients’ pressure? Is once every three months adequate?  How about once a month?  How about once a week?  But would your patients visit your office every week?

In my last blog post I described the Glaucoma Simulator Glasses we learned about at the Glaucoma Service Foundation’s CARES Conference. Here I will describe intriguing new technologies that can help patients and vision care professionals monitor IO pressures better.

Dr. L. Jay Katz, Director of the Glaucoma Service at Wills, presented one of the most interesting and intriguing talks at the CARES Conference.  His presentation, “Intraocular Pressure: From Snapshot to Movie,” featured news about two new technologies that can permit continuous monitoring (a “movie”) of patients’ IO pressure as opposed to the current “snapshots” once/month, once/week, or once every three months that many patients experience.

The Sensimed Triggerfish® IO monitor is a soft single-use contact lens, worn like a traditional contact lens on a patient’s eye. It is a non-invasive device that provides 24-hour monitoring of changes in pressure within the eye.  It consists of a disposable “contact lens” with a built in pressure measurement sensor, an antenna-like receiving device that is placed near the eye to record measurements, and a recording device worn around the neck to track measurements over time. This device allows changes in eye pressure to be measured during normal activities, including sleep, in contrast to the one-time snapshot measurements usually made in the doctor’s office.  The patient wears the Triggerfish for up to 24 hours and when the patient returns to the doctor, data are transferred from the recorder to the doctor’s computer for immediate review and analysis. This system holds much potential for monitoring IO pressure over time although it is not yet approved for use in the US.

The other system Dr. Katz presented is the Mesotec implanted IO pressure measurement system.  Mesotec’s device is a micro eye implant that can be introduced during surgery that glaucoma patients might undergo to reduce pressure.  IO pressure measurements are transmitted wirelessly by telemetry to a recording device where the data can be stored until evaluated by the doctor.  The company states that it will enable doctors and patients to quickly and accurately measure and chart IO pressure, providing doctors with the information needed to more effectively treat glaucoma.  Dr. Katz reports that the device is currently under trial at Wills; when offered to patients who are already scheduled for surgery nearly 50% are interested in participating in the evaluation of the system.

It is known that IO pressures can vary during the day, during activities, and during sleep.  The current snapshot approach provides a single measurement whereas these systems can help eye care professionals structure improved treatment and therapy plans to more effectively control pressures and the ill effects of glaucoma.

Tell me what you think.

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Gulden distributes a wide range of eye models that help vision care professionals explain and demonstrate eye diseases and conditions, including:  Glaucoma Demonstrating Models, Cataract Models, Vision Threatening Diseases Models, Retinal & Vitreous Detachment Models, plus many more.  In addition, Gulden can design, develop, and produce custom models to meet every patient and staff education need.

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Tom Cockley is president of Gulden Ophthalmics and is the third generation of the nearly 75-year-old visionary company that brings innovative, time-saving, utilitarian products to vision and health care professionals.

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