A minimally invasive and smart glaucoma implant has the potential to decrease the incidence of postoperative complications. The biodegradable glaucoma implant is approximately the same size as the world’s smallest medical device known to be implanted in the human body.

One option is a magnetically actuated glaucoma implant that can be noninvasively and repeatedly adjusted to different intraocular pressure (IOP) conditions even after implantation. Adjustment is achieved by integrating a magnetic microvalve in the implant, which can open or close fluidic channels, and thus change the hydrodynamic resistance of the implant when needed, and all by using a simple external magnet.

Another option is biodegradable. The implant will slowly degrade and then be absorbed by the body over time, leaving behind a natural pathway for fluid drainage. It can be placed at a location in the eye with far less tissue dissection required, all while still fulfilling the main purpose of removing excess fluid from the eye and decreasing intraocular pressure.

Both the magnetic-based and biodegradable polymer-based implants could be safer and more effective when it comes to reducing IOP than current devices on the market. In addition, the implants can halt the progression of glaucoma and related visual field loss, enhancing the quality of life of glaucoma patients. (Image credit: Eindhoven University of Technology)

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