There are also several different glaucoma drainage implants. These include the original Molteno implant (1966), the Baerveldt tube shunt, or the valved implants, such as the Ahmed glaucoma valve implant or the ExPress Mini Shunt and the later generation pressure ridge Molteno implants. These are indicated for glaucoma patients not responding to maximal medical therapy, with previous failed guarded filtering surgery (trabeculectomy). The flow tube is inserted into the anterior chamber of the eye and the plate is implanted underneath the conjunctiva to allow flow of aqueous fluid out of the eye into a chamber called a bleb.
The first-generation Molteno and other non-valved implants sometimes require the ligation of the tube until the bleb formed is mildly fibrosed and water-tight.This is done to reduce postoperative hypotony -- sudden drops in postoperative intraocular pressure (IOP).
Valved implants such as the Ahmed glaucoma valve attempt to control postoperative hypotony by using a mechanical valve. Studies show that in severe cases of glaucoma, double plate Molteno implants are associated with lower mean IOP in the long term compared to the Ahmed glaucoma valve.
Second and third generation Molteno implants incorporate a biological valve and studies show considerable improvement in postoperative outcome over the older style Ahmed and Molteno implants.
The ongoing scarring over the conjunctival dissipation segment of the shunt may become too thick for the aqueous humor to filter through. This may require preventive measures using anti-fibrotic medication like 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or mitomycin-C (during the procedure), or additional surgery.
Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study (AGIS) - large American National Eye Institute (NEI) sponsored study designed "to assess the long-range outcomes of sequences of interventions involving trabeculectomy and argon laser trabeculoplasty in eyes that have failed initial medical treatment for glaucoma." It recommends different treatments based on race.
Early Manifest Glaucoma Trial (EMGT) -Another NEI study found that immediately treating people who have early stage glaucoma can delay progression of the disease.
Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) -NEI study findings: "...Topical ocular hypotensive medication was effective in delaying or preventing onset of Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) in individuals with elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Although this does not imply that all patients with borderline or elevated IOP should receive medication, clinicians should consider initiating treatment for individuals with ocular hypertension who are at moderate or high risk for developing POAG."
Blue Mountains Eye Study "The Blue Mountains Eye Study was the first large population-based assessment of visual impairment and common eye diseases of a representative older Australian community sample." Risk factors for glaucoma and other eye disease were determined.