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The Edinburgh Clinic becomes first private clinic in Scotland to offer pioneering eye surgery 

The Edinburgh Clinic, one of Scotland’s leading private day-case hospitals, has become the first Scottish private healthcare facility to offer the CyPass Micro-Stent for glaucoma treatment.

One of the most common causes of irreversible blindness, glaucoma affects 2% of Scots aged over 40 and is the name given to a group of eye conditions where the optic nerve is damaged. When drainage channels in the eye become blocked, fluid can build up and increase pressure on the optic nerve leading to possible sight loss.

Using minimally invasive keyhole surgery, the 6mm plastic stent, no bigger than an eyelash, is placed directly into the eye to drain fluid and alleviate pressure on the optic nerve. The procedure can be combined with cataract surgery with the stent inserted in just five minutes. Patients can be fully awake with a local anesthetic and released from The Edinburgh Clinic the same day.

Andrew Tatham, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at The Edinburgh Clinic and Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion “Symptoms of glaucoma can often be very difficult to spot so early detection and treatment is crucial. This particular procedure means treatment can be available to more patients.   Traditionally glaucoma is treated using eye drops but these are not as effective as we would like in some cases.”

“Glaucoma is essentially a plumbing problem in the eye so by improving drainage we can alleviate pressure and avoid blindness. The stent itself is tiny and once implanted, patients can recover faster with vision restored within a matter of days.”

Alasdair Muir, clinic manager, said: “Technology and surgical procedures are improving every day. To be the first private health clinic in Scotland to offer the Cypass stent is very exciting and means we are able to give our patients greater choice of treatment options.”

The CyPassMicro-Stent was approved for use in the USA in 2016 with the first patients treated in Scotland by Dr. Tatham in 2017. Dr. Pankaj Kumar Agarwal, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon, based between The Edinburgh Clinic and the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavillion, is also able to implant the CyPass Micro-Stent.

A study involving over 500 people found more than 90% of those treated with cataract surgery combined with the stent did not need eye drops for glaucoma after surgery.

Almost three-quarters of people treated had a 20% or greater drop in their eye pressure. The study followed patients for 2 years so the longer term effects are still not certain but the results are very encouraging. Importantly, Cypass has similar safety to cataract surgery.