How Is MIGS Different from Traditional Glaucoma Surgery?

Sep 01, 2023
How Is MIGS Different from Traditional Glaucoma Surgery?
If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, here’s a look at the key differences between minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) and traditional surgery methods.

Glaucoma, often called the "silent thief of sight," is a chronic eye condition that requires careful management and treatment. In recent years, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) has emerged as a more patient-friendly alternative to traditional glaucoma surgeries. 

At his offices in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Casper, Wyoming, Cory Bergman, MD, offers MIGS procedures to his patients needing glaucoma treatment. Here’s what you should know about glaucoma and the differences between MIGS and traditional glaucoma surgery.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions involving damage to the optic nerve, often caused by elevated pressure in the eye. Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss. 

When conservative treatment methods like medications and laser therapy are ineffective at managing elevated eye pressure, it’s time to consider surgical options.

Traditional glaucoma surgery

Traditional glaucoma surgeries, such as trabeculectomy and tube shunt procedures, have been the gold standard for managing glaucoma for decades. While they are usually effective at reducing eye pressure and preventing disease progression, traditional surgery has a long list of possible complications.

Traditional glaucoma surgery methods involve creating a new drainage pathway to reduce eye pressure, requiring large incisions that need long recovery times and have a risk of complications. 

Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery 

Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery achieves lower eye pressure through less invasive techniques, often performed concurrently with cataract surgery. 

MIGS typically involves smaller incisions than traditional glaucoma surgeries, requiring shorter recovery times and a reduced risk of complications. One of the key benefits of MIGS is that we can perform it earlier in the disease progression, providing patients with a proactive approach to managing their condition.

Differences between MIGS and traditional glaucoma surgery 

There are advantages and drawbacks to both of these surgical options. Here are the primary differences between traditional and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery:

1. Incision size

MIGS procedures involve tiny incisions, usually around 1-3 mm long, whereas traditional surgeries often require larger incisions. 

2. Approach

MIGS procedures target different parts of the eye's natural drainage system to enhance fluid outflow, while traditional surgeries involve creating new drainage pathways.

3. Recovery Time

MIGS generally boasts a quicker recovery period than traditional surgery, allowing patients to resume their daily activities sooner.

4. Risks

MIGS procedures are associated with a lower risk of complications than traditional surgeries, which may involve more invasive techniques.

5. Cataract care

We can often combine MIGS with cataract surgery, providing patients with a two-in-one solution for their eye health needs.

If you or a loved one are considering glaucoma treatment, we encourage you to explore MIGS and its potential benefits. Early detection of glaucoma and proactive management is key to preserving your precious sight. 

To learn more about minimally invasive glaucoma surgery and find out if it’s an appropriate treatment for you, call the office nearest you or schedule an appointment online.