Glaucoma tube shunts are small devices implanted into the eye to drain excess fluid. The tube portion of the device is inserted into the eye to create a drain for aqueous fluid. The goal of the tube shunt surgery is to decrease eye pressure and vision loss due to glaucoma.
Ophthalmologists will usually recommend glaucoma tube shunt surgery after medications, and laser treatments and other glaucoma surgeries have failed. One major advantage of the procedure is that it is less affected by scarring, a side effect of other glaucoma surgeries that can also impede fluid drainage.
Glaucoma tube shunt surgery is typically recommended for patients who have not responded well to a surgery to lower pressure in the eye known as trabeculectomy or who are not candidates for a trabeculectomy. For instance, tube shunts are particularly useful in cases of neovascular glaucoma — a type of glaucoma in which fluid drainage is impeded by the uncontrolled growth of new blood vessels on the iris.
Glaucoma tube shunt surgery is performed in the operating room under local or general anesthesia. An overnight stay in the hospital is rarely necessary. During the procedure, the surgeon creates a small incision near the top of the eye to create a pocket underneath the conjunctiva — the eyeball’s outermost coating of fluid and mucous. The body of the shunt is sewn into place under the conjunctiva, while the tube is inserted into the eyeball. Even though the body of the device is located on top of the eyeball, it is completely hidden by the conjunctiva and the upper eyelid.
After surgery, some patients will be able to reduce or stop using glaucoma eye drops altogether, but many people will need to maintain their current regimen.
Why Temple Health?
Temple ophthalmologists specialize in the medical and surgical management of eye disorders — from the most routine to the most complex.
The highly skilled ophthalmologists offering surgical solutions are experienced in knowing when a glaucoma tube shunt is a viable treatment option and placement of the drainage device. They provide advanced technology and personalized, local, collaborative care.
Temple ophthalmologists are committed to providing the highest quality eye care in a warm, compassionate atmosphere.