Affordable glaucoma treatment breakthrough

A device developed by young Indonesian ophthalmologist Dr Virna Oktariana alongside Western Australia’s Lions Eye Institute (LEI) will make glaucoma treatment more accessible in Indonesia.

Launched at the Indonesia Medical Education Research Institute, the Virna Glaucoma Drainage Device is a tube implanted in the eye that drains away fluid and relieves intraocular pressure. It is manufactured in Indonesia for US$100 -conventional treatments cost around U$1000.

LEI’s Professor Bill Morgan, co-inventor of the XEN Gel Stent, has been working with Dr Oktariana on a low-cost version of the glaucoma drainage device since 2011, which works in a similar way and can be widely used.

“Developing an affordable alternative was critical,” he said. “One of the beauties of our design is that both Virna and I specifically designed the device to be easy to handle during surgery so that relatively novice eye surgeons can insert the device safely.”

Manufactured by Rohto Pharmaceutical, the device is being rolled out across Indonesia following the late-June launch in Jakarta.

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