12/06/2023 | Press releases

Revolutionary implant inserted into patients’ eyes as part of glaucoma research trial

Having a small implant inserted into your eye to treat glaucoma may sound unusual, but it’s part of revolutionary treatment being trialled at Colchester Hospital.

It’s thought around one in five people having cataract surgery also have glaucoma or higher pressure in their eye. If left untreated, the pressure could result in the person losing their vision, so researchers at Colchester Hospital are trialling a new way of bringing down the pressure – by inserting a small implant.

The STAR-VI trial is looking at how effective the implant, called MINIject®, is for patients in combination with cataract surgery.

Man looking into camera smiling sitting next to microscope-looking equipment
Mr Mahmoud Radwan

Consultant ophthalmologist Mr Mahmoud Radwan from Colchester Hospital, said glaucoma can cause irreversible damage to a patient’s eyesight if left untreated.

He added: “When patients with glaucoma develop cataracts and need cataract surgery, this implant – which is a novel minimally invasive glaucoma surgery device made of an innovative medical-grade silicone material called STAR® – should bring the pressure down.

“It has been estimated about one in five people undergoing cataract surgery also have glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The ability to treat patients for both cataracts and glaucoma at the same time benefits the patient, the surgeon, the health system as well as society through the efficiency of addressing two major causes of blindness concurrently, and by minimising patient recovery time and cost.

“The implant is inserted in the internal layers of the eye during cataract surgery. You can’t see it but hopefully it will help bring the pressure down and potentially prevent sight loss.”

The study is sponsored by iSTAR Medical with ESNEFT being one of the study sites across the world.

Mr Radwan added: “Not only are we excited to be part of the trial, but we’re also pleased to have the first UK participant in the trial at Colchester.”

The trial is also running in Europe, Asia, Central and South America and will assess how effective the MINIject® implantation is for patients.

Chief Executive Officer Michel Vanbrabant of iStar Medical said: “The initiation of our global STAR-VI trial is an important step to bring MINIject® to more patients around the world, including those with co-existing ocular conditions. We are on track towards delivering MINIject® as a breakthrough treatment option to glaucoma patients globally.”

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