trabeculectomy

This is a glaucoma surgery, commonly performed to reduce pressure in the eye.  Glaucoma occurs because the pressure in the eye is too high. The exact cause for this pressure elevation is unclear, though some people believe that something microscopic is clogging the drain (trabecular meshwork) inside the eye such that aqueous fluid has a hard time leaving the eye. With a trabeculectomy surgery, a new drainage pathway is created so that aqueous fluid from the anterior chamber drains directly to a “pocket” under the conjunctiva skin.  This pocket (also called a “bleb”) looks like a small blister on the white of the eye under the upper eyelid.  Here the aqueous fluid is eventually reabsorbed back into the body.  Trabeculectomy is the most common glaucoma surgery performed (more common than tube-shunt surgery). While it is successful at lowering pressure, it does run some long-term risk such as increased chance of internal ocular infection if the bleb ever breaks down. While most ophthalmologists are trained to perform this surgery, we usually leave advanced glaucoma surgeries to glaucoma specialists.

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Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:

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