Trabeculectomy (say "truh-BEK-you-LEK-tuh-mee") is surgery to treat glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease. It occurs when the nerve that connects the eye to the brain gets damaged. This damage is often caused by extra pressure in the eye. Over time, this pressure can lead to vision problems.
This type of surgery is one way to lower the pressure in the eye. It is sometimes called glaucoma filtration procedure.
First, the doctor puts numbing medicine in your eye. Then the doctor uses special tools and a microscope to make a cut in the white part of your eye. This cut is called an incision. Next, the doctor removes a tiny piece of your eye and makes an opening for fluid to drain out of your eye. Then he or she closes the incision with stitches.
After surgery, tissue rises over the new opening to make a little blister or bubble on the surface of your eye. This is called a bleb. Extra fluid from your eye will go from the opening into the bleb. Then it gets absorbed by the thin cover on the outside of your eye. You will not feel the fluid. And in most cases, the upper eyelid covers the bleb and it can't be seen.
You may get medicine to make you sleep during the surgery. Or you may be awake, but you will get medicine for pain. The surgery will take about 30 to 90 minutes. You can expect your eye to feel better each day. But it may take 6 to 8 weeks to fully heal.
This surgery may prevent your vision from getting worse. You may also be able to take less glaucoma medicine than before. To make sure that the bleb works well, you may need to see your doctor many times after surgery.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: July 17, 2018
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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