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Filtration Surgery

A Surgical Solution for Glaucoma

Many glaucoma patients control their eye pressure successfully for years with the use of prescribed medicines. However, if those medications fail to show results, prove ineffective, or the patient is unable to tolerate the side effects, then an ophthalmologist may suggest surgical intervention. One effective surgical procedure for treating glaucoma is trabeculectomy, also known as filtration surgery.

What Is Filtration Surgery?

The primary cause of glaucoma is high eye pressure. Glaucoma filtration surgery is a surgical procedure that reduces the intraocular eye pressure (IOP) inside the patient’s eye. The trabeculectomy procedure drains the aqueous humor fluid from inside of the eye. (This is a fluid inside your eye which is not tears.)

What Happens During the Procedure?

During glaucoma filtration surgery, the eye surgeon makes a small incision in the wall of the eye, known as the sclera. A thin trap door in the sclera allows the aqueous humor to pass through naturally. It falls into a little reservoir located just underneath the surface of the eye. Your eyelid hides this reservoir. Your ophthalmologist uses a device called the Ahmed tube. Using the procedure for Ahmed tube insertion, the surgeon drains the aqueous humor quickly, helping to lower the pressure on your optic nerve. This prevents or delays damage and vision loss in glaucoma patients. However, filtration surgery does not restore the vision you may have already lost due to glaucoma.

What Can You Expect After Surgery?

After your filtration surgery, you’ll have padding to cover the treated eye. You’ll need to visit the doctor for an examination on the day after surgery for removal of the eye pad. Your vision may stay blurred for two to three weeks following the surgery. You will have to wear a night shield during the first two weeks to prevent accidental damage to your eye while you sleep. After this period of time, your vision will begin to normalize.
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