• Surgical treatment must be considered when medical therapy has failed to prevent loss of vision. In some patients, loss of vision on the initial examination is so advanced that surgical intervention must be considered before medical therapy.

  • Trabeculectomy is the most common surgical procedure for glaucoma. It is usually performed in an operating room on an out-patient basis. Anesthesia is by local injection, similar to cataract surgery. The procedure usually lasts for one hour and is pain-free.
  • During the surgery, a small opening is created through the wall of the eye where the sclera, or white of the eye, meets to iris, or color of the eye. Fluid from the eye can now leak out of the eye, not into the tears, but into the tissue surrounding the eye. A small cyst or bleb forms on the outside of the eye.

  • Following surgery, a patch and shield are worn for one day. Vision may be blurred for one to three weeks after surgery. Activities such as driving the car, reading, and walking may be resumed in two to three days after surgery. Physical activities such as bending and lifting are avoided for one to two weeks. There are no changes in diet.

  • Trabeculectomy successfully lowers the pressure in the eye in about 80% of patients. In 20%, the pressure elevates again and further therapy or repeat surgery is necessary. Complications include bleeding in the eye, infection, and the need for additional surgery.

  • All trabeculectomy surgery through the Glaucoma Center is performed through the Ambulatory Surgery Center of University Hospital at Stony Brook. No other center in Suffolk County performs as many trabeculectomy procedures as done here.
Last updated by Webmaster on June 22, 2009

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