Glaucoma drainage implants in the treatment of refractory glaucoma in pediatric patients

Eur J Ophthalmol. Nov-Dec 2007;17(6):928-37. doi: 10.1177/112067210701700610.


Purpose: The aim of this study is to report the clinical course, effectiveness, and safety of glaucoma drainage implants (Molteno and Baerveldt devices) in primary and secondary childhood glaucomas refractory to conventional surgical treatments and medical therapy.

Methods: This retrospective study included 76 children (76 eyes) younger than 18 years who underwent glaucoma drainage device (GDD) implantation in our clinic between 1990 and 2004. The mean age at time of surgery was 6.9+/-5.3 years (range: 4 months to 17.5 years). Intraocular pressure (IOP), visual acuity, corneal diameter, axial length, intraoperative and postoperative complications, and number of glaucoma medications were evaluated. Criteria for success were defined as IOP between 7 and 22 mmHg with or without glaucoma medications, no further glaucoma surgery, the absence of visually threatening complications, and no loss of light perception. Results were compared for children with primary and secondary glaucomas. The mean follow-up was 7.1+/-6.5 years (range: 1.6 to 15.2 years).

Results: Mean preoperative and postoperative IOP was 33.6+/-11.4 mmHg and 17.1+/-6.5 mmHg (p<0.001), respectively. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed cumulative probability of success: 93% at 6 months, 91% at 1 year, 82% at 2 years, 76% at 3 years, 71% at 4 years, 67% at 5 years, and 65% at 6 years. There was no difference between patients with primary (n=31 eyes) and secondary glaucoma (n=45 eyes) in terms of cumulative success (p=0.186), final IOP, number of medications, or length of follow-up. On average, the GDI surgery was successful for a mean period of 6.7 years. Fourteen eyes of 76 (18.4%) failed: 10 eyes with uncontrolled IOP, 2 eyes with retinal detachment, and 2 eyes with no light perception. Statistical regression model did not show influence of gender and previous surgery. Lower age at the time of surgery was found to be associated with higher probability of treatment failure.

Conclusions: Molteno and Baerveldt glaucoma drainage implants surgery seems to be safe and effective treatment for primary and secondary pediatric glaucoma refractory to the initial surgical procedure and medical therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glaucoma / surgery*
  • Glaucoma Drainage Implants*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prosthesis Implantation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity