Treating Glaucoma: The Trabeculectomy Procedure

The trabeculectomy procedure is a glaucoma surgery performed to relieve intraocular pressure. This is done by targeting the upper eyelid trabecular meshwork and preventing the aqueous humor from draining too quickly. This surgical procedure is done mostly on those who have found that laser surgery was not successful in fixing their serious eye problems. While laser surgery is a great option for many, some patients require a more extensive procedure.

Identifying Glaucoma

Glaucoma can affect either one or both eyes, and can even develop due to an injury rather than natural causes. Serious cases of untreated glaucoma can cause partial or total blindness. However, identifying the disease early on can be tricky. Glaucoma can cause eye pain and headaches due to increased eye pressure. However, the most common symptom of glaucoma is the slow loss of vision, which can be easy to miss and misconstrued for vision loss related to age. It is important to visit your optometrist regularly to rule out diseases such as glaucoma. Treatment options for this disease range from eye drops, medication, and surgery. While glaucoma medication can help treat this disease, surgery is sometimes necessary. The trabeculectomy surgery relieves pressure from the optic nerve and prevents and slows further damage to the eyes.

What To Expect

The trabeculectomy surgery, also known as filtration surgery, can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. This surgical procedure is often recommended with patients whose glaucoma has become moderate to severe. During this time, the first thing that is administered in the operating room are steroid eye drops to numb the eyes right away. Releasable sutures on the scleral flap are utilized in order to minimize excess filtration. Risk factors that may determine failure for the trabeculectomy is if the patient has had a previous filtration surgery already, and if the patient is younger.

After The Procedure

After a successful trabeculectomy, the patient will be able to achieve a lower eye pressure and forego medication. Success rates based on long term studies for this procedure indicate that patients have a very high chance of having a successful surgery. According to the Glaucoma Association, one study suggested that 90 percent of participants experienced lasting success 20 years after receiving their trabeculectomy procedure. The surgery does not come without its risks, however. Rare but potential side effects patients may experience include cataracts, astigmatism, general discomfort in the eye, and infection. Short term side effects include very low eye pressure resulting in varying degrees of eye pain.

The First Steps

If you think that the trabeculectomy procedure may be right for you, or you exhibit signs and symptoms associated with glaucoma, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for further guidance. It is important to treat progressive diseases such as glaucoma as early as possible, with a professional that will be able to educate and treat you based on your needs. Contact Mattioli Vision Professionals if you are ready to to take that next step for your eye health.