Northridge doctor uses iStent device to help patients on the verge of going blind

NORTHRIDGE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An eye surgeon in Northridge is using a device that is extremely small but powerful that's helping to keep patients from going blind.

A quick pressure check of 68-year-old Milton Zaft's eyes revealed his glaucoma was under control. But until recently, it was a struggle to stay consistent with his medicated drops.

"The dilemma with using eye drops is the fact that more things that you put in the eye the more toxicity there can be," Dr. Mitchell Shultz said.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. Shultz said conventional surgery is somewhat invasive and the results of laser treatments don't last long.

Shultz suggested Zaft was a good candidate for a micro-invasive procedure called the iStent. The small titanium mesh is implanted in the eye's drainage system.

"It is done at the same time as cataract surgery. Unfortunately, it's only FDA approved to be done at the same times as a cataract surgery," Shultz said.

The iStent is the size of a number on a penny. Doctor's place it in the trabecular meshwork located between the iris and cornea. Shultz said the patients can go home the same day and cannot see or feel the stent.

Zaft had the stent implanted nearly a year ago and his eye pressure has remained normal. He said with the surgeries he can see well without glasses.

In most cases, the iStent procedure is covered by insurance.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.