Comparison of two prototypes of a magnetically adjustable glaucoma implant in rabbits
Glaucoma drainage devices are used in surgical glaucoma therapy. Success of controlling the intraocular pressure is limited due to fibrous implant encapsulation and fibrin coating on the implant which lead to drainage obstructions. An innovative implant with a magnetically adjustable valve was developed. The valve opening of the implant should eliminate inflammatory products from the outflow area and affect fibrous tissue formation to achieve a sufficient long-term aqueous humour outflow. Lifting of this valve should disturb cell adhesion by exerting mechanical forces. Before testing this hypothesis, the flow characteristics of glaucoma drainage devices, especially the outflow resistance by regular IOP, should be considered in a pilot study, as they are important in preventing too low postoperative intraocular pressure known as ocular hypotony. Therefore, two prototypes of the innovative implant differing in their valve area design were examined regarding their flow characteristics in a limited animal experiment lasting two weeks. Ten healthy New Zealand White rabbits were divided into two groups (A & B) with different implanted prototypes. Daily, tonometry and direct ophthalmoscopy were performed to assess the intraocular pressure and the inflammatory reaction of the eye. After two weeks, the rabbits were euthanised to evaluate the initially histological inflammatory reaction to the implant. In group A, one case of hypotony emerged. When considering the entire observation period, a highly statistically significant difference between the intraocular pressure in the operated eye and that in the control eye was detected in group A (p < 0.0001) in contrast to group B (p = 0.0063). The postoperative inflammatory signs decreased within two weeks. Histologically, a typical but low level foreign body reaction with macrophages and lymphocytes as well as mild to moderate fibrosis was seen after the short experimental period. Based on our tonometric results, prototype B seems to be the system of choice for further research assessing its long-term function and biocompatibility.