Corneal Parameters after Tube-Shunt Implantation through the Ciliary Sulcus

Ophthalmol Glaucoma. 2021 Jan-Feb;4(1):32-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ogla.2020.07.009. Epub 2020 Jul 31.


Purpose: To monitor bilateral corneal parameters after unilateral Baerveldt 350 tube-shunt implantation (Advanced Medical Optics, Santa Ana, CA) through the ciliary sulcus.

Design: Retrospective, interventional case series.

Participants: Patients from 1 private glaucoma practice with severe uncontrolled glaucoma treated with sulcus tube-shunt implantation in 1 pseudophakic eye.

Methods: Specular microscopy data were collected before and after unilateral sulcus tube-shunt implantation from the surgical and the glaucomatous fellow eyes.

Main outcome measures: Central corneal endothelial cell density (CECD), coefficient of variation (CV), percent of hexagonal cells, central corneal thickness (CCT), intraocular pressure (IOP), IOP-lowering medications, visual acuity, and complications.

Results: Forty-six patients (mean age, 69.9 years; standard deviation [SD], 4.6 years; range, 20-88 years; male gender, 41.3%) were identified. After surgery, IOP and the number of IOP-lowering medications decreased significantly by 42.3% (P < 0.0001) and 32.1% (P < 0.0001), respectively, in the surgical eye group. Preoperative CECD measured 1807 cells/mm2 (SD, 172 cells/mm2) and 1825 cells/mm2 (SD, 172 cells/mm2) in the surgical and fellow eyes, respectively (P = 0.92), and compared with baseline, it decreased by 8.6% (P = 0.17) and 3.1% (P = 0.65), respectively, by 24 months. Preoperative CV, percent of hexagonal cells, and CCT were similar in both groups and remained stable. All corneal parameters remained unchanged in a subgroup of 15 patients with low preoperative CECD (1273 cells/mm2; SD, 99 cells/mm2). Best-corrected visual acuity remained stable in both groups. Hyphema occurred in 23.9% of the surgical eyes and resolved with no intervention. We found no sight-threatening complications or corneal failures during follow-up.

Conclusions: Tube-shunt implantation through the ciliary sulcus in pseudophakic eyes appears relatively safe to the corneal endothelium, demonstrating a small and nonsignificant decline in central CECD compared with baseline and with glaucomatous fellow eyes. No significant disruption to corneal endothelial cell morphologic features, increased corneal thickness, or corneal failures were found during the 24-month follow-up period. A prospective head-to-head comparison to assess the effects of the various methods of tube-shunt implantation on the corneal endothelium is needed.

Keywords: Central corneal thickness; Ciliary sulcus; Coefficient of variation; Corneal endothelial cell density; Glaucoma tube-shunt implantation; Hexagonal cells.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glaucoma Drainage Implants*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prosthesis Implantation
  • Retrospective Studies