3 Surgical Treatments For Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a common, yet serious eye condition that affects more than 3 million people in the United States. Throughout the world, it's the second most common cause of blindness. Glaucoma can't be cured, but its progression can be stopped to protect your vision. Medications are the first line of treatment, but if that doesn't work, you'll need surgery. Here are three different surgical treatments that are used to treat glaucoma. 


Glaucoma causes high pressure inside your eye which damages your optic nerve and the goal of trabeculectomy is to relieve this pressure. A small hole will be created in the drainage angle of your eye to allow fluids to leak out, then the hole will be partially covered with tissue from the white part of your eye. This drainage hole may be visible as a small bubble beside your iris, but you may have no noticeable markings after the surgery. 

Trabeculectomy is invasive, but it's effective. Studies have shown that it works for about 84% of people while 11% will need to keep taking medications, and 5.5% will need further surgeries. 


Iridectomy is similar to trabeculectomy in that a hole is created in your eye to allow for increased drainage, but the location of the hole is different. The hole will be made in your iris, the colored part of your eye, by cutting away a portion of the tissue with a laser or miniature surgical instruments. This surgery is used for closed-angle glaucoma, a type of glaucoma that causes fluids to become trapped behind the iris. 

Iridectomy is successful for about 60% of glaucoma patients while the rest will need to continue taking medications like eye drops to control their eye pressure. 

Eye stents or shunts 

Eye stents or shunts are tiny tubes that are surgically implanted in the outside of your eye. Excess fluids drain through the tubes and lower the pressure inside your eye, halting the progression of your glaucoma. This procedure is used for people with mild to moderate glaucoma, but it doesn't provide enough drainage for people with advanced glaucoma. 

Eye stents are a fairly new treatment, but preliminary studies have shown that they're effective in most patients. About 85% of people don't need to use medicated eye drops anymore after having one of these devices implanted. For more information about eye stents, contact a professional like those at Country Hills Eye Center.

Glaucoma is a very serious eye condition but, fortunately, there are many ways to treat it. If you have glaucoma, and your medications aren't working, talk to your optometrist about which surgical treatment is right for you.