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A trabeculectomy is a surgical procedure that is carried out to treat glaucoma. Glaucoma is a fairly common ocular condition that is caused by an accumulation of pressure inside the eyes which causes damage to the optic nerve. Any vision lost as a result of glaucoma is permanent, and if the condition isn’t treated it will get worse and could lead to irreversible and total blindness.

What happens in a trabeculectomy procedure?

A trabeculectomy can be performed using a local anesthetic, which is where an injection of medicine is placed near the eye which will numb the entire area so that you don’t feel any discomfort during the procedure. Some patients prefer to have sedation to accompany their local anesthetic while others would like to have their procedure performed using general anesthetic. You can discuss your preferences with our team during your consultation.

The surgery itself is performed on the white of the eye under the eyelid. A small flap is created in the white of the eye, under which a little hole is cut to allow fluid to drain out of the eye. The flap is then closed with sutures. As a result, the fluid causing an accumulation of pressure within the eye should continue to drain out slowly. This allows for a gradual and safe reduction in intraocular pressure that can prevent further vision loss.

The entire surgery should take less than an hour and you should be able to go home the same day as your procedure. However, you will need to return to see us the following day so that the healing of your eye can be examined, and your intraocular pressure checked. You will be given specific instructions for taking care of your eyes following treatment, and you will also be given a supply of post-surgical eyedrops to use. These contain antibiotics to minimize your risk of infection and steroids to help counteract inflammation. It is important that you follow all instructions issued by your surgical team.

Are there any complications associated with a trabeculectomy?

There is a slight risk of complications with any surgery, and a trabeculectomy is no exception. The most common risk associated with this treatment is that the drainage hole could be blocked by scar tissue. If this happens, it can undo the effects of the surgery and cause the pressure to build inside your eye again. Our eye surgeon will try and counteract this risk by using a special chemical during the procedure to prevent excessive scar tissue from forming.

Other risks associated with a trabeculectomy include the following:

- Infection

- Bleeding inside the eye

- Inflammation inside the eye

- Bruising

Our team will discuss all of the risks associated with this procedure with you during your consultation.

If you would like more information about trabeculectomy surgery, or if you would like to have a consultation to discuss your suitability for the procedure, please get in touch with our office where our team will schedule you an appointment.