DMEI Surgeon among First to Perform Breakthrough Glaucoma Treatment

Dr. Steven Sarkisian is second in the nation to perform the CyPass Micro-Stent implant surgery.

DMEI Surgeon among First to Perform Breakthrough Glaucoma Treatment

The Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) values innovation in patient care and our physicians are dedicated to providing Oklahomans the absolute best care and treatment options. One DMEI physician is making waves by being among the first to perform a revolutionary glaucoma treatment.

A Procedure Pioneer

Dr. Steven R. Sarkisian, Jr. is the first surgeon in Oklahoma and the second in the United States to perform the CyPass® Micro-Stent implant surgery. Recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the CyPass is a breakthrough in glaucoma treatment because it is a minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.

“Conventional treatments' risk of complications has pushed eye doctors to look into several new ways of treating glaucoma without relatively large incisions or side effects,” says Sarkisian, the director of the DMEI glaucoma fellowship and a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University Of Oklahoma College Of Medicine.

The CyPass procedure is a less invasive treatment option compared to traditional surgeries and can be completed during a cataract surgery. CyPass is a new choice for patients at risk of losing their sight to glaucoma.

"It's never a good time to be a glaucoma patient, but it's certainly exciting to have more options for patients," Sarkisian says.


Glaucoma is a group of several diseases that damage the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause vision loss and blindness, and it’s the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Glaucoma symptoms come on slowly at first. Over time, peripheral vision starts to weaken without treatment. If continually untreated, central vision fades until vision is entirely lost.

Groups at risk for glaucoma include African Americans age 40 and older, seniors age 60 and older, and individuals with a family history of glaucoma diseases, according to the National Eye Institute.

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. Open-angle glaucoma occurs when fluid in the eye either slowly drains or is unable to drain through the eye’s drainage paths. This buildup can lead to pressure which can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss.

While there is no cure to restore lost vision, diagnosis and treatment can prevent further vision loss.

The CyPass® Micro-Stent

Developed by Transcend Medical, the CyPass procedure is designed to treat patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. During the procedure, a CyPass Micro-Stent is implanted between the sclera and the ciliary body of the eye. The stint addresses open-angle glaucoma by enhancing the drainage pathways of the eye. This helps rid the buildup of excess fluid that causes increased intraocular pressure.

Potential benefits include a reduced or discontinued need for glaucoma medications, continuous control of the eye’s intraocular pressure, and preservation of conjunctival and scleral tissue.

While it isn’t an option for every glaucoma patient, Sarkisian says the procedure has made an impact in his practice.

"There's still some people that need (conventional surgery)," Sarkisian says, "but I tell you, my volume of that surgery has decreased by 90 percent in the last year because of these micro-invasive glaucoma procedures.”

If you or a loved one suffers from glaucoma-related vision problems, request an appointment to learn more about this treatment option.

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