What is a Trabeculectomy Procedure
A trabeculectomy is a surgical procedure performed by an ophthalmologist with the goal of relieving excessive pressure inside the eye, the leading symptom of glaucoma.
- The surgeon creates a hole from the inside of the eye to the outside of the eye, allowing fluid (aqueous humor) to drain out, lowering the pressure inside the eye.
- To prevent too much drainage, the surgeon creates a scleral flap that acts as a filter, regulating how much fluid can drain.
The fluid drains out from under the flap and is trapped between the sclera (the “white” of the eye) and the thin film covering the surface of the eye (conjunctiva), where it is absorbed by the body. By lowering the pressure inside the eye, compression on the optic nerve is reduced, preventing or slowing further damage to the optic nerve.
Procedure and Follow Up
The trabeculectomy procedure takes roughly an hour and is most often performed in an outpatient setting. It may be performed at the same time as cataract surgery, as some of the medications that treat glaucoma may contribute to cataract formation. It is common for the surgeon to apply mitomycin-c to the area which helps prevent scarring that could close the hole or flap. The surgeon will schedule several follow up appointments to make sure the intraocular pressure is at an optimal level and, if needed, make minor revisions to the flap to adjust the pressure.
WMI-034 Rev 11/2019