Glaucoma Treatment: DURYSTA Commonly Asked Questions
By: Roger M. Kaldawy, M.D.
Milford Franklin Eye Center
Glaucoma is a condition that can damage our field of vision. It affects us when the pressure inside the eye is higher than what the eye can tolerate. Glaucoma is treatable with drops targeted at lowering the eye pressure. There are patients who have problems remembering to use the drops and sometimes the preservative in the drop cause irritation, redness and intolerance to the drops. In other instances, one can be traveling and forget to carry the eye drops during the trip. In those instances, a novel treatment using DURYSTA glaucoma implants can help manage the pressure while reducing or eliminating the need for drops.
What is Durysta?
Durysta is a breakthrough in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension with FDA approval. Durysta (made by Allergan) will be a game-changer for those patients who have difficulty taking daily medicated eye drops for glaucoma because it frees patients from having to apply drops altogether.
How does Durysta work?
Durysta is the first biodegradable sustained-release implant that continuously delivers Bimatoprost, a prostaglandin analog, within the eye that helps reduce and maintain healthy eye pressure levels. The preservative-free medication is housed within a tiny rod-shaped cartridge that is inserted in the eye’s anterior chamber by an ophthalmologist during a safe 5-minute office procedure.
The implant comes pre-loaded with 10 mcg of Bimatoprost in a single-use applicator that your ophthalmologist uses to inject the implant directly into the front side of your eye. This means that the drug delivery system is a one-time use sterile applicator used on you and you alone.
The bimatoprost implant is biodegradable and breaks down naturally over time, so you do not require another procedure to remove the delivery system. It simply dissolves and is eliminated by your body. In fact, most patients continue to have controlled intraocular pressure levels even after Durysta has broken down.
How long does Durysta last?
The great news for patients with open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension is that the Durysta implant is designed to last up to 6 months. However, most patients continue to have controlled intraocular pressure levels after Durysta has broken down. This means you’ll continue to benefit from Durysta for months and sometimes a year or 2 later. Meanwhile, you’ll be free from having to deal with inserting eye drops and worrying about whether the correct amount of medication actually got into your eye.
Who is a candidate for Durysta?
Durysta is indicated for people diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. That said, not everyone is an ideal candidate for Durysta and it is contraindicated under the following circumstances:
• If you have an infection within or surrounding your eye
• If you have undergone a corneal transplant
• If you are diagnosed with corneal endothelial cell dystrophy
• If your posterior lens capsule is ruptured or absent
• If you are allergic to bimatoprost or to the components of the implant
What are the side effects of Durysta?
As with any medication, clinical trials have shown that some people can experience side effects from Durysta. However, the interesting thing about the Durysta trials was that patients who were randomized to receive Durysta actually experienced fewer side effects than the control group patients taking standard glaucoma eye drops.
It’s highly unusual for a new medication to exhibit fewer side effects than the standard medicine it’s being compared to, but that’s exactly what happened with Durysta. The Durysta patients had fewer complaints and tolerated the medication better than the patients using traditional glaucoma eye drops. Fewer side effects and better eye pressure control make for a compelling argument to consider switching to Durysta.
Some adverse events for Durysta patients can include:
• Eye redness
• Eye irritation
• Eye pain
• A foreign body sensation within the eye
• Light sensitivity (photophobia)
• Blurred vision
• Conjunctival hemorrhage
• Increased intraocular pressure
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Also, the safety of taking Durysta during pregnancy has not been studied.
Is Durysta for me?
If you have tried other treatments for glaucoma, including eye drops and they did not work, or If you’ve found eye drops are challenging or you can’t use them as prescribed, contact us. Eye drops are not always the best option for every patient, and Durysta may be a better solution.
At Milford Franklin Eye Center, Dr. Kaldawy was among the first surgeons in the area to offer Durysta. We perform the procedure in a state-of-the-art surgery center in Milford and closer to home. We can also offer the same in our procedure room in Franklin. With those centers available to you here in your backyard there is no reason to travel hours to have eye surgery and laser glaucoma surgery. If your eye provider is still recommending you travel far away to have eye surgery, we are available for a second opinion. We are proud to offer excellence in glaucoma management and surgery with world class outcomes and here is the great news: Closer to home than ever before!
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