How is incisional surgery for glaucoma performed?

Laura C. Fine, MD
Trabeculectomy, or filtrations surgery, is the most commonly performed incisional surgery for glaucoma (a group of eye diseases that cause vision loss through damage to the optic nerve). In this procedure, the surgeon opens a flap of tissue to form a new passageway so that fluid can drain from the anterior chamber of the eye to a space created beneath the conjunctival tissue under the upper lid. When the risk is high that a trabeculectomy will fail due to scarring, an aqueous shunt surgery may be recommended. In this technique, the surgeon implants a special plastic or silicone valve to provide drainage for fluid. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a number of drainage devices (also called valve implants), and while they differ slightly in design, all appear to be effective.

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