YOUR HEALTH: New, more effective glaucoma treatment

MIAMI, Florida – Ryan Hilliker was born with a rare disorder called Sturge-Weber Syndrome.

"I came out I was half red so there was a little bit of shock there."

In addition to the trademark port-wine stain, Ryan was diagnosed with glaucoma in his right eye.

"The bottom 50 percent of the eye is just darkness, it`s blindness.'

"Glaucoma is an eye disease," explained optometric physician Dr. Nathan Klein.  "It's typically when the pressure in the person's eye gets too high.'

Now for the first time in 20 years there's something new on the market.

It's called Vyzulta by Bausch and Lomb.  Doctors say it works by using two pathways to increase the drainage of fluid in the eye.

Doctors say one drop of Vyzulta a day is showing a dramatic difference.

"We saw an additional 20 percent decrease in pressure after a week and a half," said Dr. Klein.

When Michael Sibble was diagnosed with glaucoma it kept him up at night.

"Being blind and can't see my kids, I didn't sleep for like a month."

But since taking Vyzulta, his eye pressure went from 17, near the high end of a normal range, to just 13, which is considered normal.

Ryan also saw a dramatic drop in just days.

"With Vyzulta, the difference was in a five day period a massive drop in pressure from 23 to 14."

Saving his sight so he too can watch his kids grow up.

Vyzulta was just approved by the FDA.

'With Vyzulta, it's actually working on both drains," said Dr. Klein who explained most other drops work on only one of the two different mechanisms for liquid outflow in the eye.

"This is causing that pressure to come way down and stay way down," explained Dr. Klein.

He said when patients were using an eye drop called Prostaglandin, they were only seeing between 20% and 30% reduction in the pressure.

"Often that`s not enough," he added.  "With Vyzulta we're getting much better results, 30% to 40% with the
same single drop, both eyes in the evening."

Some drug store chains are offering a special deal through the Vyzulta website.

If you have insurance, a two month supply will cost about $30.  Without insurance, it's about $70 for a two month supply.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.