Glaucoma drainage devices
What are glaucoma drainage devices?
Glaucoma drainage devices are implanted in different locations in the eye to facilitate drainage of the aqueous humour (fluid that bathes the eye structures) to the outside. When this drainage mechanism is altered and fluid accumulates excessively, there is an increase in pressure inside the eye that can damage the optic nerve and cause irreversible vision loss.
The surgery basically consists of inserting a drainage tube with a reservoir, also called a plate, that runs from the intraocular space to the subconjunctival area (below the conjunctiva) to allow the aqueous humour to exit and achieve a decrease in intraocular pressure. Depending on the case, the drainage tubes may be equipped with valves that regulate the fluid output.
This is a procedure we can perform individually or along with other surgeries, such as a cataract surgery, a corneal transplantation or a vitrectomy, and we will place the drainage tube in one part of the eye or another accordingly.
Eye diseases treated by drainage valves and devices
Drainage devices allow treating all types of glaucoma and can be a secondary procedure after filtering surgeries, such as non-penetrating deep sclerectomy or trabeculectomy. They can also be the surgical technique of choice when the aforementioned surgeries are not expected to provide good results or are not feasible, for example, if you have closed-angle glaucoma or, besides glaucoma, you have other eye problems, such as a transplanted cornea, diabetic retinopathy or retinal detachment.