ECP Laser Treatment For Glaucoma Is Now Available At Vision Surgery & Laser Center
Endoscopic CycloPhotocoagulation (ECP) is a laser procedure performed at the same time or after cataract surgery and has proven to be highly effective in reducing or eliminating the need to continue using glaucoma medications in the majority of patients who receive this treatment.
Glaucoma is a painless disease and is often referred to as the ‘silent thief of sight’ because many patients don’t know they have a problem until significant vision has been permanently lost. The eye receives its nourishment from a clear fluid that circulates inside the eye called aqueous humor (not related to tears produced outside of the eye). This fluid is constantly produced by tissue called the ciliary body. To keep pressure at normal levels, the fluid must also be constantly returned to the blood stream through the eye’s drainage canal. When aqueous fluid cannot drain fast enough, pressure inside begins to build. This excess fluid pressure pushes against the delicate optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. If the pressure remains too high for too long, irreversible vision loss can occur
Combining Cataract Surgery and Glaucoma Surgery (ECP)
Many patients needing cataract surgery have glaucoma as well. These patients, along with patients who have had other types of glaucoma laser treatments are ideal candidates for ECP. In modern cataract surgery, a very small micro-incision is made and an ultrasonic probe is inserted to break up and gently remove the cataract from the eye. An intra-ocular lens is then inserted to give the patient the best corrected vision after the procedure. Once the cataract is removed, the ECP probe is inserted into the same micro-incision to begin the procedure. The ECP probe uses tiny, optical fibers to illuminate, view and treat the ciliary body with laser energy. Applying laser energy to the ciliary body reduces its fluid production, thereby lowering the pressure to non-sight threatening levels. Cataract surgery with ECP is performed on an outpatient basis here at Vision Surgery & Laser Center, where we pioneered its use in the Northwest. Dr. Weston has published several papers on the use and results of ECP treatment and regularly teaches this technique to other ophthalmologists at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS)