Filtration surgery, or trabeculectomy, treats both open-angle and narrow-angle glaucoma. The procedure is a good option for patients who aren’t eligible for other laser surgeries, such as selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) or argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT). Filtration surgery offers a dramatic decrease in eye pressure that preserves your remaining vision.
Our Ophthalmologists at St. Michael’s Eye & Laser Institute utilize the latest techniques and advanced technologies to treat glaucoma. We can discuss your treatment options during your eye exam at our Largo office.
How Does Filtration Surgery Treat Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the gradual or sudden increase in eye pressure due to inadequate fluid drainage from inside the eye. Filtration surgery creates a small channel to improve the outflow. The procedure starts by cleaning the eyes and placing a sterile drape. You may receive a sedative to help you relax, and anesthetic eye drops or local anesthesia numb the area.
Our eye surgeon uses microsurgical equipment to create an opening in the white part of the eye (the sclera) to bypass the trabecular meshwork. The opening is covered by a flap or “trapdoor” to control the outflow of fluid. This tiny channel allows fluid to drain and collect in a small blister, called a bleb, on top of the ocular surface underneath the upper eyelid. The fluid is then absorbed by the blood vessels.
Your eye pressure is checked after the procedure, and you may be given eye drops to ease any swelling or soreness. We recommend you go home and relax for the day and wait a few days to resume normal activities. Follow-up appointments monitor your intraocular pressure, and results from filtration surgery stabilize within a few weeks.
The success rate for filtration surgery is about 80% if it’s your first procedure to treat glaucoma. Further surgery or treatment may be necessary to maintain or lower eye pressure even more to save the optic nerve.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common eye disease and the leading cause of blindness in men and women over 60. The internal fluid of your eye (aqueous humor) is supposed to flow from inside the eye out through the trabecular meshwork found at the angle where your iris and cornea meet. If your eye overproduces fluid or the drainage system is narrow or blocked, eye pressure increases, causing glaucoma.
Types of Glacoma
Open-angle glaucoma occurs when that angle is open, but the trabecular meshwork is partially blocked, leading to peripheral (side) vision loss. Closed-angle glaucoma happens when the iris bulges out and narrows or blocks the drainage angle, causing dangerously high eye pressure and stopping fluid circulation. Increased eye pressure causes the optic nerve to deteriorate, leading to patchy blind spots in your visual field.
If the area closes suddenly, it’s called an acute angle-closure attack which is a medical emergency. Call our Ophthalmologists or go to the ER if you experience severe headache, eye pain and blurry vision to save your eyesight.
The eye disease may come with zero warning signs and gradual vision loss until the condition progresses. Regular eye exams can diagnose glaucoma early, but once vision is lost, it can’t be recovered. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to preserving your remaining eyesight.
Schedule Your Eye Exam at St. Michael’s Eye & Laser Institute
Our Ophthalmologist will discuss filtration surgery and other treatment options for glaucoma during your regular eye exam. Contact our Largo office today to schedule your appointment.