Glaucoma Eye Surgery | Treatment & Risks | ASG Eye Hospitals

Glaucoma Eye Surgery: Treatment and Risks

Glaucoma Eye Surgery: Treatment and Risks

Glaucoma eye surgery is a procedure to reduce eye pressure and stabilize the vision to prevent loss of vision. An eye disease that damages the optic nerve is termed Glaucoma. The optic nerve is responsible for supplying visual information to the brain. The damage in the optic nerve is caused by the high pressure in the eye. Medications may be used in the earlier stages but Glaucoma surgery treatment is usually performed to restore vision.
 It may result in irreversible loss of the visual field and it is found that Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60. Other causes lead to optic nerve damage such as raised intraocular pressure (IOP) although it may occur with normal IOP (Normal-Tension Glaucoma) and even with low IOP (Low-Tension Glaucoma). The imbalance between the production and drainage of aqueous fluid in the eye’s anterior chamber raises Intraocular pressure (IOP).

Symptoms of Glaucoma: What can lead to Glaucoma surgery treatment

There are many symptoms of Glaucoma depending on the type. The most commonly diagnosed type is open-angle glaucoma. It barely has any signs or symptoms except gradual vision loss. For this reason, it is highly advised to visit your eye specialist or ophthalmologist regularly to prevent severe consequences.
On the other hand, there is acute-angle closure glaucoma, also called narrow-angle glaucoma, which is a medical emergency. See an eye specialist immediately if you experience the following symptoms:
  • Severe pain in the forehead or the eye
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden vision disturbances in the eye
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Blind spots in the field of vision
  • Seeing halos or colored rings around lights
  • Blurred vision
  • Peripheral vision loss
In such cases, Glaucoma eye surgery is usually prescribed after diagnosis for treatment.


Everything you need to know about eye glaucoma surgical treatment

Glaucoma surgery prevents vision loss. This procedure is performed by creating a new opening for fluid to drain from the eye or, by implanting a shunt to help drain the fluid. Though the surgery can lower eye pressure and help stabilize vision for a very long time, the doctor will still need to monitor your glaucoma during that time. Generally, Glaucoma surgery is a safe and painless procedure, but it all depends on the type of procedure and the doctor’s expectations for eye pressure recovery.

Types of Glaucoma surgery:

Though the types of surgery to treat glaucoma are many, what to expect after the treatment will depend on the type of surgery:
  • Trabeculectomy: This surgery is carried out by creating a small surgical incision to help the fluid drain and decrease intraocular pressure.
  • Shunts or implants: These are surgically inserted into the eye. After done with it, the surgeries allow for the shunt or implant to replace the eye’s damaged draining that reduces the eye pressure.
  • Glaucoma valve treatment: It is one of the latest glaucoma treatment techniques that helps in lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) and maintains a proper aqueous outflow. It is the most preferred management option in cases struggling with glaucoma even after maximal medications and in complicated cases of glaucoma.
  • Glaucoma Laser Surgery: In this procedure, the eye specialist puts a drop in your eyes to make it numb, aims a laser using a special lens into the eye and the laser helps drain fluid out of the eye. It is painless and hardly causes any discomfort. Most people can resume their normal daily activities the day after their laser treatment.


What should you expect after the surgery?

There may be some blurriness in the operating eye during the immediate recovery period. But as the days follow your vision will improve. Other side-effects may include:
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Swelling
  • The feeling of a small object in the eye
There is no significant pain after Glaucoma surgery treatment but you’ll need to wear an eye shield, a bandage, or padding, to protect it from bumping or rubbing. Though, you need to consult your doctor if you experience major discomforts.

Glaucoma eye surgery recovery

It takes about a month to fully recover from the surgery but most shorter recovery times last to 3 weeks and longer recovery times extend to 6 weeks.
You will be following multiple appointments with your eye doctor to monitor the healing and to remove any cuts or stitches that were put at the time of surgery. You may need to use eye drops to prevent or reduce inflammation. The doctor will also review your glaucoma medications to make any changes in your prescription when you can resume taking them or how much should you take. Usually, the recovery process is safe with minor discomforts but if you experience the following symptoms you should get in touch with your doctor immediately as they could lead to infection:
  • Redness in the eye
  • Swelling
  • Additional pain in the eye
  • Pus or discharge from the eye
  • A shadow in the visual field
  • Decreasing vision
It is recommended not to drive a vehicle, rest, and follow what your doctor says. Don’t get too stressed as this surgery is entirely safe and is been around for decades.

Precautions after Glaucoma surgery treatment


To prevent your eyes from damage, avoid the following activities for the first few weeks of surgery:
  • Exercise, running, excessive exertion, or lifting heavyweights
  • Bending or straining
  • Rubbing or pressing your eyes
For safety against infections:
  • Swimming or using hot tubs
  • Wearing contaminated contact lenses
  • Applying face cream or makeup
Your eye specialist will ask to take some other precautions based on the type of surgery.

Risks of Glaucoma Surgery

The risks are few and can be prevented, though it is crucial to know about them:
  • Vision loss: You might experience disruptions in your vision after the surgery but they are temporary. Intensive permanent loss is not a common side effect.
  • Bleeding: As with any other operation, complications may occur. However, bleeding inside the eye is a serious complication, and you need to consult your doctor immediately in such circumstances.
  • Infection: There are numerous reasons for infections and they can even occur after weeks of surgery. The ophthalmologist prescribes you antibiotics to prevent these.
  • Low eye pressure: Sometimes surgeries can lead to low pressure in the eye, also called hypotony. It is most common after surgery. As a result of hypotony, you may experience side or peripheral vision.
  • Scarring: Rarely Eye Glaucoma surgeries may fail over time due to natural healing and scarring tendencies of the eye. Sometimes the scarring is so intense that the operation may fail to accomplish lowered pressure. You might need to restart your glaucoma medications in this case.
  • Cataract: Cataract formation can be accelerated by Glaucoma surgery. But it is not a cause of worry as cataracts are fairly easy to fix. Sometimes eye glaucoma surgeries are combined with cataract surgeries

Types of Glaucoma


Getting aware of the types of glaucoma before its prevention is essential:
  • Open-Angle (Chronic) Glaucoma: It is the most common type of glaucoma. There are signs and symptoms other than gradual vision loss. The loss may be so slow that the damage caused may be irreparable before any symptoms become apparent.
  • Angle-Closure (Acute) Glaucoma: In this case, the aqueous humor fluid is suddenly blocked and the rapid build-up of fluid may cause a quick, severe and painful increase in pressure. It is an emergency and you should consult your doctor immediately if you are experiencing symptoms such as nausea, pain, and blurred vision.
  • Congenital Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma usually runs in families. It slows down or prevents normal fluid drainage in children and causes angle defects in their eyes. The symptoms could be cloudy eyes, excessive tearing, or sensitivity to light.
  • Secondary glaucoma: It occurs mostly as a side-effect of an injury or another eye condition, such as eye tumours or cataracts.
  • Normal-Tension Glaucoma: In rare cases, people who do not have increased eye pressure develop damage to the optic nerve. Though the cause isn’t known, extreme sensitivity or a lack of blood flow to the optic nerve may be ascribed to normal-tension glaucoma.

Who is at risk of developing glaucoma?

  • Age: People above the age of 60 are at a higher risk to develop glaucoma and the risk increases with each passing year.
  • Eye problems: Thin corneas and chronic eye inflammation can lead to raised pressure in the eyes. Physical injury or trauma can also cause increased pressure in your eye.
  • Ethnicity: People of Asian descent have a higher tendency to develop glaucoma.
  • Families: Some types of glaucoma like open-angle glaucoma runs in families. If your grandparent, had it, you may be at a higher risk of developing this condition.
  • Medical history: People with heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma.

Prevention against glaucoma

As of now, there are not any known ways to prevent glaucoma, but diagnosis in the early stages may prevent the eyes from severe or irreparable damage. Annual preventive care appointments with the ophthalmologist help to take necessary actions such as glaucoma eye surgery
These conditions might worsen the normal functioning of the eye and may result in severe consequences. But, don’t worry if you have such conditions. At ASG Eye Hospitals, we take pride in providing the best solutions for eye care to people irrespective of their awareness, knowledge and financial levels. The most optimal glaucoma eye surgery at ASG encompasses state-of-the-art equipment and highly experienced doctors.

Dr.Shilpi GangDr. Shilpi Gang
MBBS (Gold Medalist), MD (AIIMS, NEW DELHI), Fellow of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow, U.K.

Dr. Shilpi Gang is the co-founder and CEO of ASG EYE HOSPITALS. ASG Eye Hospital has a network of 44 eye Hospitals across 33 cities of India.

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