Trabeculectomy, In Brief

Trabeculectomy, In Brief

Trabeculectomy, also known as Glaucoma drainage eye surgery, is a surgical procedure that removes part of the trabecular meshwork of the eye in order to increase the drainage of fluid. For simplicity, think of glaucoma as being caused by a clogged drain. The fluid, or Aqueous humour is constantly being created but cannot escape quickly enough, building up pressure and damaging the optic nerve in the eye.

Following advice and guidance through a diagnosis process, surgery is usually recommended when medication drops to manage the glaucoma are not tolerated, or they may simply fail to control the pressure in the eye.  This is where a trabeculectomy can be offered as an alternative.

The facts in brief

A trabeculectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures used to treat open-angle glaucoma. It can also be used in angle closure glaucoma. A new drainage passage is created during the procedure by cutting a small hole in the sclera (the white part of the eye) and creating a collection pouch between the sclera and conjunctiva (the outer covering of the eye). This serves to create a system for bypassing the blocked drainage channels, encourages fluid drainage and reduces eye pressure.

The Trabeculectomy procedure

The surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under local anaesthesia and does not require a hospital stay. Patients are awake but relaxed and will experience no pain.  A tiny incision is made through the sclera into the anterior chamber of the eye, to create an opening for the aqueous humour to escape, therefore reducing eye pressure.

Every Trabeculectomy is different

This procedure is different for every patient, however the principles following surgery remain the same.

After the surgery

Gently does it… following this type of procedure, post-operative restrictions are advised to ensure quick and successful recovery.  Simple changes in day-to-day activities have to be followed, such as careful eye hygiene to prevent infection, and avoiding rubbing of the eyes.  And definitely no contact lenses, mascara or eyeliner while the eye is recovering!  Vigorous exercise, or weight lifting, are gradually reintroduced after an initial period.

The good news is the success rates for a trabeculectomy procedure are very high.  If you want to know more about glaucoma and the treatment options available, you can book an appointment with us.