Revolutionary eye surgery performed for the first time in Arkansas

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The first Hydrus microstent surgery in the United States was performed Tuesday in Northwest Arkansas, according to Vold Vision in Fayetteville.

Doctors say this procedure is less invasive than prior methods designed to treat patients with mild to moderate glaucoma and has a shorter recovery time.

Michelle Smith, the wife of Arkansas Razorback football defensive backs coach Mark Smith, is the first person in the country to receive this breakthrough procedure.

“The significance of the Hydrus is it’s as small as an eyelash but the impact is huge, just think of it as almost the size of an elephant. It is a transformative procedure that’s going to make an enormous impact.”

The Smiths made the move to Northwest Arkansas January of last year for a new coaching position on the Razorback football team.

“God brought me to the absolute best place I could be for glaucoma care.”

Glaucoma is a condition where there’s increased pressure in the eye, causing a gradual loss of sight and irreversible blindness.

It can be hereditary, Michelle’s mom has the disease but Michelle never thought about being tested until her most recent pregnancy.

It’s estimated more than 3 million Americans have the chronic eye disease, but only half of those know they have it.

Now Michelle hopes her story will inspire others to get routine eye tests.

“I’m just really passionate about making sure other people know that so they can preserve their vision because the reality is glaucoma causes total blindness and that’s a really heavy emotionally charged word.”

Dr. Vold performed the new Hydrus procedure on 10 patients Tuesday.

“This day is a day I’ve been waiting for a long time. This isn’t just some small incremental breakthrough. In my mind, this is potential to be a performative procedure for patients all over the United States and really all over the globe.”