What is a Baerveldt glaucoma implant?
The primary goal in treating glaucoma is to override your eye's faulty drainage system, providing a way out for the fluid inside your eyes. Called your aqueous humor (which isn't related to your tears), this fluid has nowhere to go and builds up inside your eye, which can damage your optic nerve.
The Baerveldt implant is an innovative system that provides an outlet for your aqueous humor. The device itself is called an aqueous shunt, and it drains the fluid from inside your eye into a small drainage device that’s placed over your eye, just under your eyelid.
The drainage component of the implant has an incredibly small tube attached to it, which we place inside your eye to provide an exit for fluid buildup.
Is the implant noticeable from the outside?
If you opt for a Baerveldt implant, it’s almost impossible to detect it from the outside. We place a tiny plate beneath the outer membrane of your eye, behind your eyelid, which is hidden away nicely. The implant is white in color in order to blend in with your eye.
How does the implant drainage work?
The goal of the implant is to redirect your aqueous humor from the inside of your eye, where it’s building up dangerously, to the outside. Once your aqueous humor exits your inner eye through the tiny tube, the Baerveldt implant on the outside of your eye slowly releases the fluid. This gradual process allows the blood vessels in your eyes to naturally absorb and process the fluid.
How is the device implanted?
Once you and our experienced providers decide that a Baerveldt implant is your best option for relieving your intraocular pressure, we install the implant during a surgical procedure. Most patients are under full anesthesia for the surgery, though some may opt for local anesthesia and light sedation.
In either case, we quickly implant the shunt connecting your inner eye to your outer eye and fits the drainage portion to your outer eye using a patch of tissue from an eye bank or commercial source. This patch helps reinforce the conjunctiva over the device, so your tissue doesn't wear down.
The implant goes to work immediately, providing passage for the fluid in your eye that’s causing your glaucoma.
If you’d like to explore your implant options, including the Baerveldt, call us or schedule an appointment using the convenient online booking tool.
We see patients for Glaucoma, Cataract Surgery, General Ophthalmology, and more. Call Los Angeles Glaucoma Group at our Torrance or Culver City, Ca Location today.