Surgery Options for Glaucoma

May 15, 2018

 Glaucoma Chicago, ILGlaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness the world over. It often involves increased pressure in the eye, intraocular pressure, which causes damage to the optic nerve. Patients first lose their peripheral vision, but if left untreated glaucoma can cause total blindness. In the U.S., the most common form of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma.

At Millennium Park Eye Center, we perform three basic types of glaucoma surgery all with the goal of improving or returning drainage from the eye. By improving drainage, pressure inside the eye drops.


Most treatments for glaucoma seek to lower the intraocular pressure in the eyes. This helps save the patient’s eyesight by slowing the damage occurring to the optic nerve. Damage that has been already done by adult glaucoma is not reversible. However, in congenital glaucoma in children, some damage can be reversed.

Treatment options include both medicines and surgery. Eyedrops are used to lower the pressure inside the eye, but if these are not proving effective, we may recommend glaucoma surgery.

Here are the three main types of glaucoma surgery we perform.

  • Trabeculectomy

This procedure involves the creation of a new fluid outflow pathway within the eye’s natural tissues. An incision removes a piece of tissue to allow drainage. After trabeculectomy surgery, fluid flows from inside the eye to the space underneath the front clear skin tissue of the eye, called the conjunctiva. From there, the fluid gets absorbed into the eye’s tear film and normal blood vessel supply.

  • Tube-shunt surgery

In this surgery, an artificial filtering device is placed onto the sclera, the eye wall. The device is connected to a silicone tube that carries the fluid away. The fluid collects at the site of the implant and is then absorbed by the eye’s natural tissues.

  • Laser trabeculoplasty

This procedure uses a laser to burn tissue to create an opening that allows fluid drainage from the eye. For some patients who have had this surgery, their intraocular pressure only decreases for a few years, and then it begins to increase again. This may require another laser procedure to again facilitate drainage.

If you need glaucoma surgery, trust the experience of the Millennium Park Eye Center team. Call us at (312) 996-2020 to set up a consultation.


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