Trabeculectomy surgery – complications

Trabeculectomy surgery may lead to several and some serious complications, like loss of vision, cataract, infection, mild ptosis (droopy eyelids), discomfort, etc.

The healing nature of the human organism will try to close the trabeculectomy hole or fistula. The ophthalmologist will work to modulate the scarring process and maintain the drainage through the fistula for the longest period possible. The post-operative period is of outmost importance to minimize complications and failure of the procedure, and the patient needs to be on constant follow up with the operating surgeon, at least in the early postoperative follow-up period.

Nevertheless, this surgery may remain comfortable/asymptomatic for the patient, and effective in lowering IOP for a long time. Success depends on several factors, including the patient’s age, glaucoma type, time of use of topical medications, previous surgical procedures, etc. Your ophthalmologist will discuss your probability of success.

If at any time after surgery the patient notices an increased redness, pain, sensitivity to light and loss of vision – he/she should report immediately to an eye specialist as this can be an infection in the eye.  Although not frequent, any infection inside the eye (endophthalmitis) can lead to irreversible visual loss if not treated urgently. Antibiotic use should start as soon as possible, and other treatments (injections of medicines, surgery) may be required for more advanced infections.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is characterized by conjunctival yellow-green discharged, particularly when awakening. In eyes that underwent trabeculectomy, although uncommon, the infection may spread to inside the bleb and inside the eye. Prompt treatment of conjunctivitis with topical antibiotics is important to prevent this serious potential complication.


World Glaucoma Association

Important message for glaucoma patients

It is important for you to get yourself regularly screened for glaucoma. If you have been diagnosed to have glaucoma, effective treatment options are now available and regular treatment and follow up can help you to preserve your vision for your lifetime, avoiding unnecessary fear of going blind.

You can live happily with glaucoma and enjoy an excellent quality of life, particularly if the disease is detected early and treated in time. Always remember that once you have glaucoma, you will have to be under the care of an eye doctor for the rest of your life.

There is a lot of research going on and new treatments may become available for glaucoma in the near future.

World Glaucoma Association