Drug-delivering implants for glaucoma patients have the potential to increase compliance and reduce costs for patients. That’s a noble cause, but it’s predicated on accepting that the instruments in question effectively deliver the medications where they need to go without harming the patient. New research shows that one of those devices is indeed getting the job done.

Researchers looked at how dexamethasone intravitreal implants helped manage uveitis in patients already fitted with an Ahmed glaucoma drainage device. The patients were followed for a year. Although it was a small study, with only eight eyes of six patients, the team found the pairing an effective approach for managing uncontrolled uveitic glaucoma. In the retrospective research, the study shows that one year after implementation, the chronic, non-infectious uveitis and uveitic glaucoma patients experienced no significant changes in acuity. No eyes lost three or more lines of vision and 87.5% of the eyes evaluated achieved a decrease in average IOP, from 36.5mm Hg to 11.8mm Hg.

As hoped, the patients were able to decrease their use of glaucoma medication, from an average of 3 to 1.3 medications. The compliance-aiding devices also significantly lowered incidents of recurrent inflammation in the six months following surgery, compared with the six months prior.

In addition to uveitis, dexamethasone is used to manage macular edema, which was not evaluated in this study.

Nguyen T, Kim H, Mielke C, et al. Combined dexamethasone intravitreal implant and glaucoma drainage device placement for uveitic glaucoma. J Glaucoma. January 2, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].