Surgical Procedures for Glaucoma

People who are not helped by other methods may need surgery. Choices are:

Laser Surgery

A high-energy beam of light is used to make changes to the eye to ease pressure. Common surgeries are:

  • Trabeculoplasty —This is done to treat open-angle glaucoma. Tiny burns are made in the drainage area of the eye. This will let fluid drain more freely.
  • Iridotomy —This is often done to treat angle-closure glaucoma. A small hole is made in the iris. This will let fluid drain more freely and help widen the drainage angle.
  • Cyclophotocoagulation —This is done on people with severe glaucoma who are not helped by other methods. A laser or freezing probe is used to destroy some parts of the eye that make fluid. This will reduce how much fluid is made.

Incisional Surgery

Small cuts are used to make changes to the eye to ease pressure. Common surgeries are:

  • Trabeculectomy —Small tools are used to make a tiny hole in the white of the eye where it meets the cornea. This will let fluid drain out from the hole and get absorbed back into the blood. Some people may also have a valve placed in a small incision.
  • Mechanical shunts —People with severe glaucoma may have a shunt placed. This is a small tube that is placed in the eye to help fluid drain freely.

Microinvasive Surgery

Microinvasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) uses stents, bypasses, and implants to make new channels in the eye. The channels let fluid drain out from the eye and get absorbed back into the blood.

References:

Angle-closure glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/angle-closure-glaucoma . Updated October 24, 2016. Accessed April 29, 2020.
Facts about glaucoma. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts. Updated March 11, 2020. Accessed April 29, 2020.
Primary open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/primary-open-angle-glaucoma . Updated February 7, 2020. Accessed April 29, 2020.
Prum BE Jr, Rosenberg LF, et al; American Academy of Ophthalmology. Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma Preferred Practice Pattern Guidelines. Ophthalmology. 2016 Jan;123(1):P41-P111.
What is glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 28, 2019. Accessed April 29, 2020.
What is glaucoma? Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed April 29, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 5/4/2020

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