Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
Your surgeon will perform glaucoma surgery to fix drainage problems in your eye due to high intraocular pressure.
The anterior chamber is filled with a watery fluid called aqueous humor that bathes and nourishes the cornea and lens.
As the aqueous humor flows in from the posterior chamber, it continuously drains through the trabecular meshwork, between the iris and cornea.
Proper flow of the aqueous humor keeps the pressure inside the eye normally balanced.
In glaucoma, aqueous humor drains out too slowly or is produced too quickly,
causing a buildup of fluid, which increases the intraocular pressure.
Under the strain of this pressure, the optic nerve fibers become damaged and eventually die, which may result in permanent vision loss.
Glaucoma surgery options include laser and non-laser procedures.
The procedure will generally take 10-60 minutes.
If you are having a laser procedure, you will be seated facing the laser machine.
Eye drops will be administered to numb your eye.
A small device will be placed in your eyes to hold your eyelids open.
A trabeculoplasty is a laser procedure that increases fluid drainage from the trabecular meshwork.
During a laser trabeculoplasty, your doctor will use a special contact lens
held over the front of your eye to focus a beam of laser light onto the trabecular meshwork.
If successful, this will allow more fluid to leave your eye, thus lowering the intraocular pressure.
A peripheral iridotomy is a laser procedure that opens a narrow or closed drainage angle between the cornea and iris.
This closed angle is interfering with the drainage of fluid.
In this procedure, your doctor will use the laser to make a small hole in your iris, allowing fluid to flow more freely within your eye.
Cyclophotocoagulation is a laser procedure that reduces production of aqueous humor.
In cyclophotocoagulation, your doctor will use a laser to destroy parts of the ciliary body, which produces aqueous humor.
If successful, this will reduce the production of fluid, decreasing the pressure in your eye.
A trabeculectomy is an incisional surgery that removes some of the trabecular meshwork in the eye.
During this procedure, your doctor will use small instruments to remove a tiny piece of tissue from the wall of your eye,
leaving a small hole through which the aqueous humor can drain out and be reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
While medications and surgical treatments may help prevent further vision loss, they cannot restore vision that is already lost due to glaucoma.
After the procedure, you will be monitored for 1-2 hours before being released.
You may be given an eye patch or bandage to wear temporarily.
You will be prescribed eye drops and instructed on their use.
Your doctor will likely advise you to keep your eye dry for a time by avoiding swimming or showering,
and to temporarily refrain from driving, heavy lifting, or straining.