Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: A new technology that has the ability to immediately lower eye pressure and effectively treat the progressive damage that glaucoma can cause to the optic nerve, while also reducing or eliminating the reliance on medication in most patients, is now available in the UAE at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health.
Three patients at the hospital have become the first in the region to receive this innovative outpatient treatment for glaucoma, a common eye condition where the optic nerve becomes damaged because of an increased pressure caused by fluid build-up in the front part of the eye.
The new minimally invasive PreserFlo MicroShunt® procedure involves inserting a small biocompatible stent into the drainage system of the eye in order to shunt intraocular fluid and lower pressure inside the eye. This procedure enables patients to quickly recover at home. Patients can generally return to normal, non-strenuous activities within a few days, and to a normal lifestyle within a few weeks.
Dr. Jason A. Goldsmith, a Staff Physician in the Eye Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, who was part of the care team for these patients, says: “Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness around the world and is also one of the main causes of vision loss in the UAE. The expansion of our minimally-invasive surgical options with the introduction of this novel approach to treat glaucoma means that even patients with advanced disease can be treated safely, with minimum downtime and positive results in most cases.”
Dubai-based Canadian national Natavan Tapdigova was among the first patients to be treated with this new technology in November. The 55-year-old began having symptoms of blurry vision and headaches in 2018, but she was only diagnosed with glaucoma in 2020.
She says: “Not once during all my annual check-ups at other hospitals was I informed that I should get an eye test for my pain. One morning in 2020, my symptoms became worse. Unfortunately, I still waited for four weeks before I went to see an ophthalmologist.”
Her doctor found her eye pressure to be very high, ranging from 40-50 mm HG, which can cause rapid vision loss. She was prescribed pressure drops and pills to lower her eye pressure, but they came with several side effects, including red and itchy eyes, as well as dryness.
“Many people recommended Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to me, so I decided to see Dr. Goldsmith in 2020. He confirmed the diagnosis and tweaked my pressure medications to reduce the side effects. Until earlier this year, the medication was working well to maintain the pressure in both my eyes at around 15-18 mm HG,” says the HR professional.
However, the disease worsened, and her eye pressure could no longer be controlled with eye drops alone. Natavan’s pressures began to creep up to 30 mm HG, and it was time to consider incisional surgical options.
The new procedure, Dr. Goldsmith explains, is recommended to patients only after a thorough eligibility assessment that includes a comprehensive eye exam and imaging, and a review of their medical history.
“Incisional surgery is not normally the first step to treat glaucoma, but it becomes necessary when medications do not work for the patient, or if the patient is experiencing significant side effects while taking medications. We generally only recommend incisional glaucoma surgery when the patient is at significant risk of permanent vision loss without surgery, which was the case with Natavan,” he says.
In suitable candidates, the new procedure is performed under a local anesthetic and takes about 30 – 45 minutes, after which the patient is observed for a few hours in clinic and discharged on the same day. The patient is prescribed postoperative eye drops, with a follow-up visit scheduled for the next day to assess the success of the operation.
Natavan, who had the treatment in both eyes, says she no longer has any symptoms, is completely off her glaucoma eye drops, and her pressure has dropped to about 12 mm HG in each eye.
“Since this was an eye procedure, I was really worried at first. But it was such a simple procedure at the end and my discomfort after the surgery lasted only a few days, and my pressure has reduced significantly. I am only taking post-surgery medication now.”
She concludes: “The quality of care that I received at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was even better than what I have found back home. In fact, I have decided to renew my work contract and stay in the UAE longer than I had planned. You don’t get such attentive and advanced care, with regular follow-ups from your doctor, anywhere else.”
For more information or to book an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, call 800 8 CCAD (2223) visit www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae or download the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Patient Portal App.
About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is a multispecialty hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 394 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain began offering select medical services in December 2017. The facility is located on the Tawam Hospital Campus in Al Ain.
Visit us at www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae
About Mubadala Health
Mubadala Health is the integrated healthcare network of Mubadala Investment Company. Established in 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), Amana Healthcare, National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Danat Al Emarat, HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, HealthPlus Family Clinics, HealthPlus Fertility, HealthPlus Women’s Health Center, Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, and a stake in Al Meswak Dental Clinics Group. With a vision to transform the regional healthcare landscape, Mubadala Health sets a new benchmark for the UAE and regional healthcare industry through its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class caregivers who strive to put patients first across its continuum of care. Innovation, research, and education are the foundational pillars of Mubadala Health, supporting the further development of a sustainable healthcare sector in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi and the region.
Mubadala Health is on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn with the handle: @mubadalahealth.
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© Press Release 2022
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