An Overview of Uses for Mitomycin Ophthalmic
) is a prescription eye medicine approved for use during glaucoma surgery
. It belongs to a general group of medicines known as antineoplastic antibiotics. It is also sometimes referred to as an antimetabolite, which is another class of medicines.
is a medical term that refers to a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the bundle of nerve fibers that transmits visual images to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve reduces vision and can lead to blindness. In most cases, the optic nerve damage is due to increased pressure in the eye, known as intraocular pressure.
There are many different types of glaucoma. The most common are closed angle glaucoma (also called angle closure glaucoma) and open angle glaucoma
(see Types of Glaucoma for more information).
The symptoms of glaucoma are quite different for each type. For example, a person with open angle glaucoma may have no symptoms in the beginning, with a gradual loss of peripheral vision as the condition progresses. If left untreated, blindness can occur. In contrast, a person with angle closure glaucoma may experience a sudden onset of visual loss, with severe eye pain, nausea, and vomiting (see Glaucoma Symptoms for more information).
Treatment for glaucoma will also depend on the specific type. In general, the goal of treatment is to reduce the pressure in the eye. Angle closure glaucoma is considered a medical emergency and, as such, needs immediate treatment in order to preserve vision. Open angle glaucoma is most commonly treated early on with medicine, usually eye drops, but sometimes oral medications. People who do not adequately respond to medicines may be treated with surgery.
One type of glaucoma surgery is called a trabeculectomy, or filtration surgery. Normally, a clear fluid (the aqueous humor) flows through the front part of the eye, nourishing the eye's delicate tissue and keeping it from collapsing. In glaucoma, the fluid does not drain properly and builds up in the eye. This causes increased eye pressure. During a trabeculectomy, a surgeon creates a tiny opening in the eye that allows fluid to flow out, thus lowering eye pressure.
Unfortunately, filtration surgery does not always work. It is not uncommon for scar tissue to eventually develop, causing the tiny hole created during the surgery to close off. Mitomycin
ophthalmic is used during glaucoma surgery to help prevent scarring from occurring, thereby increasing the chance that the surgery will be successful.