Breakthrough Eye Implant Marks a New Era in Glaucoma Surgery 

A groundbreaking new development in the treatment of glaucoma will bring hope to millions of people worldwide suffering from the vision impairing eye condition. The ophthalmology medtech company Ciliatech has developed the first implant in glaucoma surgery that leaves the anterior chamber untouched.

The Cilio-scleral Inter-positioning Device (CID) involves a swift and straightforward surgical technique without the risk of complications associated with pre-existing optical implants. Early results from a 12-month clinical trial interim reveal the CID has strong potential to mark a new era in glaucoma surgery.

Unlike other eye implants, it works successfully without causing a small blister of fluid on top of the eye’s surface or underneath the eyelid, known as a filtration bleb. It also does not carry a risk of other conditions related to optical implants such as hypotonia, when the intraocular pressure is too low, and antimetabolites, which inhibits a particular cellular function.

There are 80 million people worldwide with glaucoma, and this number is expected to increase to over 111 million by 2040, according to the US charity BrightFocus. The common eye condition sees the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, become damaged and can lead to loss of vision.

It is usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye. It can affect people of all ages but is most common in adults in their 70s and 80s.

Interim results from two Ciliatech studies have shown promise for patients who have received treatment with CID technology.  Two cohorts of 20 and 22 patients in Yerevan, Armenia, living with open-angle glaucoma, participated in the studies. 

Olivier Benoit, co-founder and CEO of Ciliatech, explained:

“Safety has been demonstrated to be extremely good, showing only the most minor and very mildest complications. Equally important, our IOP results are sustainable over time, with no treatment failure and with more than 83% of the patients being med-free at 12 months.”  

The complete study results are set to be published in a peer reviewed medical journal early next year. 

Existing implant methods used to treat glaucoma penetrate the anterior chamber of the eye and remain partly in it, which over time results in deterioration of the corneal endothelial cells, which keep the cornea hydrated. 

In contrast, a CID surgical procedure distances itself from the anterior chamber, making it an innovative and safe alternative to current methods. As CID is embedded between only two areas of the eye—uniquely between the ciliary body and the sclera—it offers the unparalleled advantage of unlocking the natural uveoscleral pathway without altering the anterior segment of the eye. 

Discussing the technology, Philippe Sourdille, Co-Founder of Ciliatech, said:  

“I am thrilled that the long, hard work of everyone working on this idea has finally come to fruition. This is the result of many years of glaucoma surgical practice laden with both satisfactory and frustrating outcomes, in parallel with many lab tests and the theoretical research that little by little enabled us to create this new concept in treating glaucoma.

We are very glad to contribute to the continuous improvement in glaucoma surgery and believe we can bring it to another level, thanks to our innovation.”

Glaucoma can occur for a number of reasons. In most cases, it is caused by a build-up of pressure in the eye when fluid is unable to drain properly. This increase in pressure then damages the nerve that connects the eye to the brain. It is often unclear why this happens, although certain things can increase the risk, including age, ethnicity and family history.

People of African, Caribbean or Asian origin are at a higher risk as are those who have other medical conditions such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness and diabetes.

Up to one-third of all sufferers of the condition have the more severe and vision-impairing “narrow-angle glaucoma”—the majority of which are of Asian descent. They cannot benefit from recent progress in glaucoma treatments and still have to undergo trabeculectomy, a technique dating back more than fifty years, or total lens extraction.

Ciliatech believes its technology will be particularly beneficial for these patients and is currently testing a new, simplified version of the technology on narrow-angle glaucoma patients.

Founded in 2017, Cliliatech is aiming for CE-making and FDA approval by 2024/2025.

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