A New Polymeric Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Implant

Inês C.F. Pereira, Paul A.A. Bartels, Christian J.F. Bertens, Serge H.M. Söntjens, Hans M. Wyss, Albertus P.H.J. Schenning, Patricia Y.W. Dankers, Henny J.M. Beckers, Jaap M.J. den Toonder

Published: 2024

Glaucoma drainage devices are implanted in the eye to treat glaucoma, a disease that can cause vision loss and blindness. These devices are designed to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP), a major risk factor for the progression of glaucoma, by providing an alternative outflow path for the fluid produced by the eye, the aqueous humor. Here, a novel polymeric minimally invasive glaucoma implant designed to enhance aqueous humor outflow is demonstrated. The implant is made of a unique, potentially biodegradable thermoplastic material, polycarbonate bisamide (PC-BA), and produced through replica molding using hot embossing and femtosecond laser-machined glass molds. Post-mortem experiments demonstrate successful device implantation into a rabbit’s eye, with the implant remaining securely in place. Although the mass loss and changes in molecular weight observed in the in vitro degradation experiments are not significant within the tested times and degradation conditions, the PC-BA is a slow-degradation polymer that may take a few years to fully degrade. Thus, the implant will also slowly degrade and be absorbed by the body over time, leaving behind a natural outflow pathway. This potentially biodegradable glaucoma implant may represent a promising new approach for restoring outflow in a more natural way.

Full Access Link: Advanced Materials Technologies