Surgical device for assisting surgeons with insertion of glaucoma drainage tubes

Value proposition

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide with an estimated global burden of over 64 million people. In most cases, glaucoma involves increased ocular pressure due to fluid buildup. Currently, the only proven modality for the management of glaucoma is lowering intraocular pressure to stop damage to the optic fiber. While standard glaucoma surgeries are effective, they carry significant risks and involve prolonged post-operative recovery. Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) is considered a safer means of reducing intraocular pressure. However, MIGS still presents various challenges for the surgeon and complications for the patient. Such problems include the blind external approach to tube tract formation during the procedure, fluid egress prior to the drainage tube insertion, and variations in the final tube position in the eye. Therefore, there is an ongoing demand for new approaches that can lead to superior outcomes for glaucoma surgical patients.


A Duke ophthalmologist has designed a device intended to improve the outcome of minimally invasive glaucoma surgery during approaches from inside of the eye. The system consists of a tri-bend needle that is designed to protect the lens and facilitate correct drainage tube tract formation during the internal approach. The invention also consists of a micro-grapser jaw positioned at the end of a needle to facilitate proper positioning of the drainage tube. A device is used to connect the beveled tri-bend needle with the distal end of a tube to ensure correct tube path and allow the simultaneous insertion of the drainage tube and retraction of the needle. A prototype has been developed and demonstrated by the inventors.


  • Unlike standard methods, this technology avoids the lack of needle visibility that can lead to improper insertion placement
  • Reduces variability of tube tract formation
  • Can decrease risk of iris trauma and corneal trauma
  • Decreases the opportunity for fluid egress prior tube insertion
eye surgery

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Passi, Samuel
  • Passi, Walter

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School of Medicine (SOM)