What is trabeculectomy?
It is an operation to lower eye pressure by creating a connection between the inside of the eye and a drainage reservoir (called a bleb) which usually sits behind the upper eyelid.

Who is trabeculectomy performed on?
It is performed on eyes with glaucoma where medications alone have not achieved a low enough pressure.

What is follow-up like after trabeculectomy?
You will need to be seen quite frequently for several weeks after surgery. There are sometimes further manipulations that need to be undertaken after surgery, in order to get the drainage rate just right. These manipulations can include removal of stitches, injections of anti-scarring agents, or needling procedures to increase drainage. In general the first few weeks after surgery are about getting the drainage right and the pressure where we want it to be. After a few months, follow-up frequency should diminish significantly once the operation is working the way it needs to be.

What are the complications?
They include bleeding inside the eye, infection of the bleb or inside the eye, the pressure being too high or too low, loss of vision, and necessity for more procedures. Sometimes the operation fails entirely and a different procedure needs to be considered. Overall, there is a greater than 75% chance that the pressure in the eye is reduced to an acceptable level, and the majority of these cases will no longer require any pressure-lowering drops.

How long does the operation’s effect last for?
If the bleb is looked after well and a patient attends for regular reviews after surgery, it should be possible for the operation to effectively lower eye pressure for many years after surgery.

Will i need drops after trabeculectomy?
Usually antibiotic and steroid drops are needed after surgery for some weeks, but after that, most patients stop all drops following trabeculectomy.

There is more information available in the International Glaucoma Association’s downloadable leaflet on trabeculectomy