Glaucoma Surgery

For patients who still have an elevated IOP after attempting glaucoma treatment through medication, an ophthalmologist may recommend either laser or conventional surgery.

There are three types of glaucoma laser surgery that can be performed in the doctor’s office:


Trabeculoplasty uses a laser to burn tissue from the trabecular meshwork, a structure within the eye that controls the flow of fluid. This procedure increases the aqueous outflow in the area surrounding the laser spot, relieving pressure within the eye. Pressure is reduced in 60 to 70 percent of the patients in whom a laser trabeculoplasty is performed. This type of glaucoma laser surgery is used to treat patients with open-angle glaucoma.


Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea in the eye is too small. This causes the iris to block fluid drainage, increasing inner eye pressure. Iridotomy glaucoma laser surgery makes a small hole in the iris, allowing it to fall back from the fluid channel so fluid can drain.


Cyclophotocoagulation uses a laser to burn ciliary tissue, which decreases the production of fluid in the eye. The procedure, performed under local anesthesia, has only recently become available to glaucoma patients to reduce the intraocular pressure. This type of glaucoma laser surgery is used to treat patients who have failed to respond to other types of glaucoma surgery. Many patients will require more than a single treatment. The procedure appears to have significant success and relatively low risk.

Conventional Glaucoma Surgery

If laser surgery fails to lower IOP, the surgeon may recommend conventional glaucoma surgery, known as trabeculectomy or filtering surgery. This is an outpatient procedure involving the removal of a tiny piece of the eye under the eyelid. This conventional glaucoma surgery creates a new drainage path that increases the outflow of fluid from the eye.

Locate a Doctor for Glaucoma Treatment

Preventive glaucoma diagnosis, medication, and treatment are crucial to safeguarding your vision against this debilitating condition. Clínica Refractiva Navex can help you find a glaucoma specialist in your area who is trained in conventional or laser glaucoma surgery.

Recovery after Glaucoma Surgery 

Over three million Americans have glaucoma. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. When drug therapies and medications fail or are inappropriate, surgical treatment may be required. The two types of surgical techniques used in glaucoma surgery are laser treatment and conventional filtering microsurgery. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, surgery results stabilize vision and prevent future vision loss. Below is an overview of what to expect during recovery, as well as information on potential glaucoma surgery complications.

Glaucoma Laser Surgery Recovery

Glaucoma laser surgery decreases intraocular pressure by enhancing the eye’s drainage capabilities. Ophthalmologists typically recommend laser surgery over conventional microsurgery, unless the eye pressure is very high or the optic nerve is badly damaged.
Clínica Refractiva Navex can help you find an the eye care specialist you need.
Although many people can return to normal activities shortly after glaucoma surgery, most ophthalmologists advise patients to avoid heaving lifting, straining, and bending for a couple weeks. Periodic checkups are required to monitor the patient’s progress.

Glaucoma Laser Surgery Results

Following glaucoma surgery, the eye is usually red, irritated, and may tear. Unlike conventional glaucoma surgery, after which patients may experience blurriness for the first month or two after the procedure, laser glaucoma surgery results should stabilize over a shorter period of time – in as little as a few days – providing relief from glaucoma symptoms.

Glaucoma Laser Surgery Complications

As with any surgery, glaucoma laser surgery does carry some risk. Rare laser glaucoma surgery complications include a short term increase in intraocular pressure or an excessive drop in pressure. Both of these glaucoma surgery complications can be managed with medications. There is also a small risk of cataract formation after surgery.

Glaucoma Conventional Surgery Recovery

Ophthalmologists may recommend conventional glaucoma surgery if intraocular pressure is very high, the optic nerve badly damaged, or if laser surgery was unsuccessful. Patients usually experience little if any pain or discomfort during glaucoma surgery recovery. The surgery is done on an outpatient basis.
Generally, ophthalmologists advise patients to avoid heaving lifting, straining, and bending for the first couple weeks following surgery. Periodic checkups are required to monitor the patient’s glaucoma surgery recovery progress and results.

Glaucoma Conventional Surgery Results

The conventional glaucoma surgery recovery time is longer than that of the laser procedure. Typically, recovery requires two to four weeks; however, it may take up to two months for glaucoma surgery results to become apparent and vision to stabilize. Success rates for conventional glaucoma surgery are about 70 to 90 percent for at least one year.

Glaucoma Conventional Surgery Complications

Although risks are rare, conventional glaucoma surgery complications include bleeding, infection, discomfort, and pain. A loss of too much pressure can result in a loss of vision. As with any procedure, the glaucoma surgery complications should be balanced with the benefits of saving vision in the affected eye. Failure to treat glaucoma can result in permanent blindness.

Find a Glaucoma Specialist through Clínica Refractiva Navex

If you are considering glaucoma surgery, talk to an ophthalmologist in detail about potential glaucoma surgery complications. Glaucoma surgery results have a very high success rate. With treatment, glaucoma progression can be slowed and additional vision loss avoided. Locate a glaucoma specialist at Clínica Refractiva Navex.

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