Canaloplasty is a form of Non-Penetrating Glaucoma Surgery (NPGS). “Non-penetrating” just means that the wall of the eye is not cut all the way through. In theory (and often in practice) this means that a bleb and its associated risks are avoided. NPGS was developed specifically to avoid the high risks of “penetrating” surgeries.
So, How Long Has Canaloplasty Been Around?
One of the first attempts at creating a successful non-penetrating glaucoma surgery was reported by Dr. J. E. Cairns in 1968. Dr. Cairns wished to avoid the complications of penetrating surgery. Additionally, he felt that it was “unnecessary and unphysiologic to create a bypass to eliminate the activity, therefore, of the collector channels from the Canal of Schlemm.” In other words, he wished to maintain as much of the eye’s natural drainage function as possible.
Because it was felt that the main restriction to fluid exiting the eye was located at the trabecular meshwork Dr. Cairns’ developed a glaucoma surgery which was intended to cut out a portion of the trabecular meshwork. Removing a section of the trabecular meshwork created an opening in the Canal of Schlemm through which aqueous could pass unobstructed into the collector channel system and out of the eye. He specifically wished to restore the integrity of the wall of the eye (sclera) by suturing it “firmly back into place, the intention being to secure a watertight union.”
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