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Dean McGee Eye Institute glaucoma specialist prevents blindness with new surgical technique

Glaucoma is the No. 1 cause of irreversible blindness, afflicting people of all ages, even infants. Canaloplasty, a new surgical technique being practiced in Oklahoma City at Dean McGee Eye Institute, offers a less invasive, less risky option for sufferers.
By Jim Stafford, For The Oklahoman Modified: February 16, 2014 at 10:00 am •  Published: February 15, 2014
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Judy Gross knew that she had a date with blindness at some point in her future.

Gross, 67, suffers from glaucoma, an eye disease that left unchecked will gradually rob its victims of their eyesight.

Glaucoma is the No. 1 cause of irreversible blindness, afflicting people of all ages, even infants. It is caused when fluid builds on the interior of the eyeball, putting pressure on the optic nerve. Eventually that pressure leads to nerve damage, loss of peripheral vision and, if untreated, blindness.

An Edmond interior decorator, Gross treated her condition with eye drops, which she applied three times a day. The drops dried her eyes, making them red, “scratchy” and leaving her constantly feeling tired.

“The eye drops would be holding the pressure down, but still there was always that thought in the back of my mind,” Gross said. “I could go blind with this.”

Despite the daily drops, the pressure in her eyes continued to build. In 2012, her ophthalmologist recommended that she see Mahmoud Khaimi, M.D., a glaucoma specialist at Oklahoma City’s Dean McGee Eye Institute.

Dr. Khaimi was one of the first adopters in the U.S. of a new type of surgery called canaloplasty. The advanced surgery is less invasive, less risky and leads to fewer post-operative complications than traditional glaucoma surgery techniques, he said.

To understand canaloplasty, it is helpful to be acquainted with a common heart procedure known as angioplasty.

“I can talk to just about anyone and they will know what angioplasty is,” Khaimi told me during a recent visit in his Dean McGee Eye Institute office. “In essence, what they do is they will find a clogged blood vessel, balloon it open and put in a permanent stent to keep it open.

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I can talk to just about anyone and they will know what angioplasty is. In essence, what they do is they will find a clogged blood vessel, balloon it open and put in a permanent stent to keep it open.”

Mahmoud Khaimi, M.D.,
Specialist at Oklahoma City’s Dean McGee Eye Institute

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