The most commonly performed surgery for glaucoma is TRABECULECTOMY. It remains the gold standard operation for glaucoma and the most effective way to lower eye pressure.
A trap-door valve is fashioned in the white wall of the eye, beneath the upper eyelid. It releases eye fluid to seep over and behind the eye and lower the pressure in a controlled manner. The valve is covered by the clear skin of the eye to form a low blister.
The use of the anti-scarring drug Mitomycin C during surgery increases the likelihood that good drainage and a stable, lower pressure will be maintained in the long term. This medicine slows down healing and so it requires meticulous surgical technique in order to avoid complications.
Surgery normally takes about an hour and is carried out under local anaesthetic (awake) so that you may go home the same day. With a general anaesthetic (asleep), it is sometimes better to stay overnight in hospital.
The eye recovers slowly and should be monitored closely for about 6 weeks. Vision is usually a bit blurred for a week or two but occasionally longer. A small change in your glasses may be required after 6-8 weeks. Further manipulation is sometimes needed in the weeks after surgery to ensure that healing proceeds well for good long term eye pressure control: stitches added or removed or an anti-scarring injection given.