Surgery involves either laser treatment or the microsurgical creation of a fistula reduce the intraocular pressure.
The type of surgery your ophthalmologist (eye doctor) recommends will depend on the type and severity of your glaucoma and the individual characteristics of your eye. Surgery can help lower pressure when medication alone is not sufficient. It does not, however, reverse visual loss.
Laser Surgery (Laser Trabeculoplasty)
Your ophthalmologist will recommend laser surgery either before medication is started or when medication fails to achieve the desired control of the eye pressure. During laser surgery, a laser beam is used to modify the eye’s trabecular meshwork (the eye’s drainage system). This helps increase the flow of fluid out of the eye and results in a lowering of the pressure. Laser surgery has the advantage of being safe, effective and painless which allows for rapid recovery of vision. Laser surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure at the Peninsula Eye Clinic and does not require admission to hospital.
When medications and laser surgery does not sufficiently lower eye pressure, your ophthalmologist may recommend, conventional surgery (or filtering microsurgery). This involves creating a tiny drainage fistula in the eye. This opening allows the intraocular fluid to bypass the clogged drainage canals and flow through this newly created drainage canal. This drainage canal is usually created using the eye’s natural tissues (trabeculectomy) but sometimes an artificial drainage device is implanted. Glaucoma surgery may need to be repeated to achieve the desired result. This surgery requires admission to hospital as a daycase procedure so an overnight stay is not usually required.
Following glaucoma surgery regular follow-up and strict adherence to the post-operative drop routine is vital for success.