FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A first-of-its-kind eye surgery in the United States was performed by a local surgeon in Fayetteville Tuesday (Sept. 27).
The surgery is used to treat glaucoma, an eye disease that leaves thousands of Americans blind each year.
Cheryl Harp was the first patient in the U.S. to undergo the procedure after finding out she had glaucoma just a month ago when she went to her doctor to get contacts.
"I was not expecting to be told I had glaucoma, so it was quite a shock although I have always been aware of it and mom has always made sure all of us get our eyes checked," Harp said.
Harp's grandmother went blind from glaucoma and her mom has it too, so after the initial shock wore off, Harp knew she had to try the new treatment.
"There was part of me that was thinking 'I am going to have trouble' and then to be told that this was such a great step forward, I was just thrilled beyond belief. I just felt like I said, it is a miracle," Harp said.
The new glaucoma procedure called CyPass Micro-Stent was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in July and Fayetteville`s Dr. Steven Vold became the first surgeon in the country to perform the surgery Tuesday morning.
"Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world and it is the silent thief of sight," Vold said.
According to Vold, compared to the standard glaucoma procedure, which has a recovery time of about three months, this new type of surgery has barely any recovery time and patients can stop using their eye drops.
"It is like Lasik for glaucoma," he explained. "With Lasik, literally in an hour or two [a patient] can be seeing 20/20. Well now, we can bring a glaucoma procedure that can do that."
Vold performed 11 of these procedures Tuesday morning on patients from four different states.
The surgery will not be available nation-wide until January.