What is glaucoma surgery?

Jump To

How is surgery used to treat glaucoma in adults?

Surgery for glaucoma reduces the pressure in the eyes by allowing fluid to drain. It opens blocked drainage angles or creates a new opening so fluid can drain.

Doctors can use either a surgical cutting tool or a laser to do surgery. Laser surgery is usually tried first. If it doesn't help, your doctor may try conventional surgery.

There are three basic types of surgery:

  • Surgery to increase drainage of fluid from the eye. The surgeon may remove a piece of tissue to allow fluid to drain from the eye. Or a stent or tube may be placed in the eye to allow fluid to drain.
  • Surgery to prevent the drainage angle from closing. The surgeon makes a new opening in the colored part of the eye (iris). It allows fluid to flow through the eye.
  • Surgery to decrease the amount of fluid produced in the eye.

Why is it hard to decide about surgery to treat glaucoma?

Deciding whether to have surgery for glaucoma can be hard. Here are some reasons.

  • You may not be in pain or notice any vision loss.
  • Your vision may get worse right after surgery and may be affected for weeks or months. Your eyesight may not be as good as it was before surgery.
  • Surgery isn't a complete cure for glaucoma. But surgery can decrease the chance of losing even more eyesight later. And for some people, it can reduce or get rid of the need for eyedrops.
  • Not everyone who has laser surgery will have lower pressure in the eye after surgery. The lower pressure may last only a few years.
  • The effects of some laser treatments aren't long-lasting. Other treatments may be needed later.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.