Glaucoma covers a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve as a result of abnormally high pressure in the eye. Glaucoma surgery involves either laser treatment or the microsurgical creation of a fistula to reduce the intraocular pressure.
The type of surgery recommended will depend on the type and severity of the glaucoma. Surgery can help lower pressure when medication alone is not sufficient. It does not, however, reverse visual loss.
Laser Surgery (Laser Trabeculoplasty)
Laser surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure either before medication is started or when medication fails to achieve the desired control of eye pressure.
Laser surgery is used to modify the eye’s trabecular meshwork (the eye’s drainage system), which helps increase the flow of fluid out of the eye and reduce eye pressure.
It has the advantage of being safe, effective and painless.
When medications and laser surgery do not sufficiently lower eye pressure, filtering microsurgery may be recommended. 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 a newly created drainage canal, using either the eye’s natural tissues (trabeculectomy) or sometimes an implanted artificial drainage device.
Glaucoma surgery requires admission to hospital as a day case procedure and may need to be repeated to achieve the desired result.
Following glaucoma surgery regular follow-ups and strict adherence to the post-operative drop routine is vital for success.