Question: What are shunts, when are they used to treat glaucoma, and what are the risks/benefits?
Answer: Tube shunts are very similar to filtration surgery. With tube shunts, we use an implanted material that has a hole through it, like a small microscopic hose. This is implanted into the eye to allow fluid to drain from the inside of the eye to the outside part of the eye to enhance the drainage and lower the intraocular pressure. We generally perform this procedure when there is evidence that the pressure is very high, or if the glaucoma is progressing.
These procedures along with any type of surgery have the risk for infection, bleeding, retinal detachment; some of these complications can be very very serious. It's very important to consult your ophthalmologist when considering one of these procedures and carefully weigh the risks and benefits for yourself.