The development of a micro-shunt made from poly(styrene-block-isobutylene-block-styrene) to treat glaucoma

Leonard Pinchuk, Isabelle Riss, Juan F. Batlle, Yasushi P. Kato, John B. Martin, Esdras Arrieta, Paul Palmberg, Richard K. Parrish, Bruce A. Weber, Yongmoon Kwon, Jean Marie Parel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness with ∼70 million people worldwide who are blind from this disease. The currently practiced trabeculectomy surgery, the gold standard treatment used to stop the progression of vision loss, is rather draconian, traumatic to the patient and requires much surgical skill to perform. This article summarizes the more than 10-year development path of a novel device called the InnFocus MicroShunt®, which is a minimally invasive glaucoma drainage micro-tube used to shunt aqueous humor from the anterior chamber of the eye to a flap formed under the conjunctiva and Tenon's Capsule. The safety and clinical performance of this device approaches that of trabeculectomy. The impetus to develop this device stemmed from the invention of a new biomaterial called poly(styrene-block-isobutylene-block-styrene), or “SIBS.” SIBS is ultra-stable with virtually no foreign body reaction in the body, which manifests in the eye as clinically insignificant inflammation and capsule formation. The quest for an easier, safer, and more effective method of treating glaucoma led to the marriage of SIBS with this glaucoma drainage micro-tube. This article summarizes the development of SIBS and the subsequent three iterations of design and four clinical trials that drove the one-year qualified success rate of the device from 43% to 100%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • SIBS
  • biodegradation
  • entrepreneurship
  • glaucoma
  • trabeculectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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