Glaucoma Drainage Implant Surgery
Glaucoma drainage devices, such as the Baerveldt and Ahmed implants, are useful in patients who are poor candidates for glaucoma filtration surgery. These patients have risk factors, such as multiple previous eye operations, that make it more likely that a filtration operation would fail due to scarring.
Gaucoma Drainage Implants are for those
You will arrive at the surgery center several hours prior to your procedure. Once you have been checked-in, you will be prepared for surgery. The area around your eyes will be cleaned and a sterile drape will be applied. You may be given a sedative to help you relax. Your eye will be numbed with local anesthesia.
Glaucoma implants are usually placed in the area underneath the upper eyelid. Using advanced microsurgical techniques and equipment, your doctor will suture the implant to the sclera, and insert the tube into the front chamber of the eye just in front of the iris. Unless the lid is pulled back, neither you nor your family will notice the implant. With the upper lid retracted, a white patch may be noted. This is a patch that covers the tube and prevents irritation.
There is little discomfort following surgery except for a minor irritation. Patients usually go home within a few minutes of the end of the operation and are instructed to relax for the rest of the day. Most patients resume normal activities within a few days. Eye drops will be prescribed to ensure healing without infection or inflammation. Follow-up visits are necessary to monitor your eye pressure. It may take a few weeks to see the full pressure-lowering effect of this procedure, and adjustments may need to be made to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye.
The goal of glaucoma implant surgery is to lower intraocular pressure and preserve vision. It will not restore vision that has already been lost. Since glaucoma drainage implants are used in patients with more complicated problems, the success rate of the operation might be slightly lower than for a standard trabeculectomy. Although most patients do well, some will require further treatments. In more difficult cases when glaucoma drainage implant surgery does not lower the intraocular pressure enough, other procedures, including insertion of a second implant, might be necessary.
Serious complications with glaucoma drainage implant surgery are uncommon, but like any surgical procedure, there are some risks. Having a surgeon who specializes in glaucoma and is highly experienced in insertion of these devices can significantly minimize risks.