The most common surgical option is trabeculectomy, also called filtration surgery. During the procedure, your surgeon will create a tiny opening in the sclera (the white part of the eye) covered by a thin trapdoor. The excess aqueous humor (the clear fluid between your eye’s lens and cornea) drains through the trapdoor to a small reservoir just under the eye surface, hidden by the eyelid. This will lower intraocular pressure and slow the effects of glaucoma.
About half of all trabeculectomy patients do not require glaucoma medication for a considerable amount of time after surgery. While effective at reducing IOP, this procedure is not considered a cure. It’s important to work with your doctor to create a treatment plan and follow-up schedule that is right for you.
What to Expect
Most trabeculectomy procedures are performed at outpatient surgery centers with minimal prep under local or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will ask for a list of your prescription medications to review before the surgery and will make any necessary recommendations. Some discomfort is normal after surgery, and temporary side effects like blurry vision and sensitivity to light are common. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory eye drops) that you will use for a significant length of time after the procedure. Patients should plan to limit certain activities such as driving, reading, bending and straining for two to four weeks after surgery.