The STARflo™ Glaucoma Shunt
A European study of the STARflo™ Glaucoma Shunt is now underway. This implant is made of a soft, spongy silicon material. It uses micropores rather than a central lumen to shunt fluid from the anterior chamber into the suprachoroidal space. In order to implant the STARflo™ Glaucoma Shunt an incision must be made in the sclera (outside wall of the eye).
How Well Does the STARflo™ Glaucoma Shunt Work?
We don’t know yet. That’s why the European study is being done. Results from an earlier study have been published but that study enrolled only four patients. That’s not enough to draw any conclusions. So how did those four patients do? Quite well it seems.
The patients chosen for this study all had advanced uncontrolled glaucoma. The average intraocular pressure (IOP) prior to surgery was 37mmHg and that was with the use of over three glaucoma medications per day (on average). One year after surgery the average intraocular pressure had dropped to just over 14mmHg. Additionally, on average these study participants were using only half the glaucoma medications required prior to surgery.
Early post-operative complications included early bleb formation, hypotony (too low of an IOP), bleeding in the choroid, and macular changes. No long-term complications were noted in any of the study participants. The blebs disappeared after a few months. One patient did require additional surgery (cyclophotocoagulation).
The STARflo™ Glaucoma Shunt is a device with the potential to dramatically lower IOP. Whether this IOP reduction will be sustained and without long-term risks remains to be seen. I am hopeful that the European study initiated in 2014 will answer these questions in the affirmative.
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Don’t delay getting checked for glaucoma.
Make an appointment with an eye doctor in your area now. If you live in the greater Los Angeles area and would like Dr. Richardson to evaluate your eyes for glaucoma call 626-289-7856 now. No referral required. Same day or next day appointments are available, Tuesday through Saturday.