This procedure involves making an opening in the eye and inserting a tiny tube that allows fluid to drain out. This lowers the pressure in the eye.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that can damage the optic nerve. Normally, a clear fluid called aqueous humor flows into the eye and nourishes the tissues in the eye. It drains out of the eye through a special drainage system called the trabecular meshwork.
There are many different types of glaucoma. The four most common types are primary open-angle glaucoma (most common), angle-closure glaucoma (acute or chronic), secondary glaucoma (due to injury, inflammation, steroid use, or eye surgery), and congenital glaucoma (appears soon after birth).
A trabeculectomy is a type of surgical procedure that gives the fluid in the eye another way to drain. It involves making a small incision in the sclera (white part of the eye) and removing a piece of the trabecular meshwork. An opening may also be made in the iris (round structure that surrounds the pupil) so the fluid can drain out and form a small blister or “bleb.” The blood vessels in the eye then absorb the fluid or “bleb.”
What causes glaucoma to develop is unknown, but some risk factors include:
Glaucoma is diagnosed as part of an eye examination. Eye drops may be given to enlarge your pupils so that the structures within the eye can be seen more clearly. (Depending on the strength of the eye drops, you may experience blurry vision or light sensitivity for up to 24 hours.) The eye doctor will then use an instrument to look into your eye, measure your eye pressure, and examine the optic nerve. The eye doctor may also perform a test called a visual field examination and then may make treatment recommendations. Although there is no cure, various types of medications can help prevent vision loss associated with glaucoma. The medications work by reducing the pressure in the eye in one of two ways. The medications either improve the way the eye's drainage system works or by decreasing the amount of aqueous fluid produced inside the eye.
This care path includes the costs for creating a hole in the sclera and placing a drainage device to allow excess aqueous fluid to drain from the eye.
Surgery to treat glaucoma is typically done as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center (ASC). Prior to the surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before and after the surgery. These may include:
During the surgery, you will most likely be awake. However, you will receive medication to keep you relaxed and eye drops to numb your eye. After surgery, anti-inflammatory eye drops, antibiotics, and other medications may be given. To protect the eye after the procedure, most people wear an eye patch for a few days. Your doctor will want you to avoid showering, swimming, driving, or strenuous exercise for a short time.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having glaucoma surgery?
Make a list of your questions/concerns/symptoms and medications (including over-the-counter). After your surgery, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. You should also understand all home care instructions (including eye drops, medications, and side effects) and follow-up plans.
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