Aqueous shunt implantation in glaucoma.
Aqueous shunts or glaucoma drainage devices are increasingly utilized in the management of refractory glaucoma. The general design of the most commonly-used shunts is based on the principles of the Molteno implant: ie. a permanent sclerostomy (tube), a predetermined bleb area (plate) and diversion of aqueous humour to the equatorial region and away from the limbal subconjunctival space. These three factors make aqueous shunts more resistant to scarring as compared to trabeculectomy. The two most commonly used shunts are the Ahmed Glaucoma Valve, which contains a flow-restrictor, and the non-valved Baervedlt Glaucoma Implant. While the valved implants have a lower tendency to hypotony and related complications, the non-valved implants with larger, more-biocompatible end plate design, achieve lower intraocular pressures with less encapsulation. Non-valved implants require additional suturing techniques to prevent early hypotony and a number of these methods will be described. Although serious shunt-related infection is rare, corneal decompensation and diplopia are small but significant risks.
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