The First In-Human Trial of an Eye Implant Helps Patients With Glaucoma

iSTAR Medical has obtained promising results from the first-in-human trial of an eye implant, that can decrease fluid pressure in the eyes of glaucoma patients.

iSTAR Medical, a Belgian biotech, has six-month results from a first-in-human trial showing the effects of its device on intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma — a condition where high eye pressure damages the optic nerve and leads to gradual vision loss. The device, called MINIject, is an implant made of a soft and flexible form of silicone. MINIject reduces eye pressure by clearing fluid from the area between the cornea and the iris.

In the trial, the device was implanted in 25 patients with mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma. On average, the device reduced fluid pressure in the eyes by 39%, and 87.5% of patients were able to stop using medication that lowers eye pressure. There were no serious side effects. iSTAR plans to measure its device’s performance up to two years after implanting it in patients.

Combating vision loss with medical devices seems to be getting traction. Earlier this month, Pixium Vision raised €10.6M to bring its implant for treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD) closer to a European market launch. While AMD and glaucoma have very different causes, these developments highlight the potential for using implanted medical devices in the human eye.


Images by Robert Przybysz/Shutterstock

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