Vold Vision Pioneers First XEN Implant in Arkansas

Sitting on the sidelines of her granddaughter’s volleyball game and feeling her eyes strain, Mary Cooper became even more excited about her upcoming surgery at Vold Vision.  Diagnosed with glaucoma, eight years ago, one of Mary’s biggest fears is losing her vision. Known as the “silent-thief” of sight, glaucoma is the second highest cause of blindness in the United States. Mary is among the first patients in the state of Arkansas to receive one of the latest procedures to hit the glaucoma market, the XEN Gel Stent.

Mary and her family are all too familiar with the uphill climb a glaucoma patient experiences. The XEN is her fourth surgery since her diagnosis. Dr. Steven Vold a globally recognized glaucoma ophthalmologist located in Northwest Arkansas (NWA) performed the first XEN implant in the initial FDA clinical trial, and he is the first surgeon in the state of Arkansas to perform the surgery after the XEN received FDA approval in November of 2016.

“When Dr. Vold told me about the XEN, I was excited and hopeful,” Mary said. “Eyesight is a precious thing, and I want to do everything I can to take the best care of mine.”

Mary and her husband Bill have made the drive from Fort Smith to NWA to see Dr. Vold since she was first diagnosed. “I spoke with eye doctors in Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Little Rock, and I kept hearing the same name, ‘Dr. Steven Vold’. He is passionate about what he does, and I trust him,” Mary said.

Trust isn’t something Dr. Vold takes lightly, “We have an obligation to make advancements in glaucoma care,” Dr. Vold stated. “Procedures like the XEN, provide doctors with greater options to keep our patients in the absolute best health possible. Mary has six grandchildren, and she wants to watch them grow up, this is the motivation behind why we do what we do.”

Intra ocular pressure (IOP) is a term that most people know little about, that is until they are diagnosed with glaucoma.  A healthy IOP range is between 10 and 21. Two days after the procedure, Mary’s pressure is down to nine, but what she is most excited about is the recovery. “There is no comparison to the 24-hour period after the XEN surgery compared to the three other procedures I have had done,” Mary said. “I just can’t stress enough how incredible this surgery has been. Everybody says what a skilled surgeon Dr. Vold is, and I guess I’m living proof of that.”

Glaucoma is hereditary. Both Mary’s dad and brother both have glaucoma, so she has always been diligent to have her eye pressure checked. It is important to be tested for glaucoma, as it often goes undetected until the point a patient begins to lose vision.

Dr. Vold is invested in research and pioneering new procedures for glaucoma patients. In fact, Vold Vision has dedicated space in its’ Fayetteville facility to FDA research trials. “Our team wants to make sure we are on the front lines pushing for best in class care. I take my job and my patients’ trust to heart.”

Given the aging of the world’s population, the number of people living with glaucoma is estimated to increase to nearly 80 million by 2020.