Comparison of different biomaterials for glaucoma drainage devices

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999 Feb;117(2):233-6. doi: 10.1001/archopht.117.2.233.


Objectives: To compare the inflammatory reaction associated with the insertion of silicone and polypropylene endplates and endplates made of a new biocompatible polymer, Vivathane, in the rabbit subconjunctival space.

Methods: Similar-sized endplates made of 3 different biomaterials were sutured to the sclera in the superotemporal quadrant of the rabbit eye. Thirty eyes of 15 albino New Zealand rabbits were randomly assigned to the 3 groups. Conjunctival vascular hyperemia was graded in a masked fashion among groups. At the end of 3 weeks, the enucleated eyes were examined histologically and using scanning electron microscopy.

Results: Polypropylene and Vivathane were associated with significantly more inflammation in clinical observations and based on histological grading. Silicone was associated with the least amount of inflammation. Three polypropylene and 1 Vivathane plate were extruded between the second and third week.

Conclusions: Silicone is the most inert of the 3 materials tested. Inflammation associated with biomaterials may contribute to the failure of the glaucoma drainage devices.

Clinical relevance: Bleb inflammation may be related to the biomaterial being used as the endplate. Endplates should be handled carefully during surgery to avoid creating rough spots.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / adverse effects*
  • Eye Enucleation
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / pathology
  • Glaucoma Drainage Implants*
  • Leukocytes / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Polypropylenes / adverse effects*
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation
  • Scleral Diseases / etiology*
  • Scleral Diseases / pathology
  • Silicone Elastomers / adverse effects*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polypropylenes
  • Silicone Elastomers