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Shunts and Implants for Glaucoma


Shunts or implants are small plastic devices that are surgically attached to the eye's surface. These devices have a tiny tube that is inserted into the eye through the hole that is made during a trabeculectomy. This allows a direct passageway for the aqueous to escape from the eye, with fluid dispersed through the implant. In this way, the aqueous fluid is diverted to bypass the eye's damaged filtration drainage canals.
Shunts typically are made of materials such as silicone or polypropylene. Some shunts are hollow tubes that improve drainage, while others have valves to shut off drainage.
Complications of these implants can include creating a pressure that is too low for the eye to function (hypotony). Implants also may be positioned too close to the front of the eye's surface, causing decomposition of the cornea. Tubes also may begin to erode through the eye tissues where they have been placed.

The SOLX DeepLight Glaucoma Treatment System combines a titanium sapphire laser with a gold shunt (shown at far left next to a quarter and at right inserted into an eye). At lower left and right are photos of a patient's trabecular meshwork before and after treatment.






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