What is Stenting?

In medicine, a stent is a metal or plastic tube inserted into the lumen of an anatomic vessel or duct to keep the passageway open. There is a wide variety of stents used for different purposes, from expandable coronary stents, stenting for peripheral vascular disease, and stents used to help tear flow from the duct to the nasal passage.

In ocularisty, stenting and stenting therapy provides the same type of benefits. An ocular stent is very similar to an ocular conformer. They are both clear and made from acrylic, but its purpose is different, as well as it’s unique custom shape. The main purpose of an ocular conformer is to hold the shape of the eye socket and allows the eye lids to blink over the shell without rubbing on the suture line (for enucleation or evisceration) or over the live cornea. An ocular stent’s purpose is quite different whereas it is multifunctional. It provides the same benefits as a conformer where it protects the tissues and allows blinking without rubbing, but it can also be used to realign tissues and break up bands of scar tissue. How?

Stenting therapy comprises of a series of customized clear stents, all with different uniquely contoured geometric shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. The number of stents in the therapy depends on what your ultimate goal is. If you want more motion, the more stents the better. We can design and fabricate stents to suit your particular needs. In some cases, we have patients who have been wearing a prosthesis their entire lift with very limited motion. Upon examination of their socket, we can see that they have scar tissue that could be inhibiting the motion. This is where our stenting therapy come in to help.

This technique is very successful in our practice, as seen in the photo above. We frequently use therapy in preparation for enjoying the most natural looking cosmetic result. With our lid and socket therapy, we realign tissues and reduce limiting scar tissue, while harnessing motion from the cul-de-sacs. With this baby from Hawaii (born with congenital microphthalmia) we used a series of stents over a one week interval. Which created a lower lid curve to match her beautiful natural eye.