This surgical technique is used to treat chronic glaucoma, in which the pressure in the eye gradually rises due to a blockage of the trabecular meshwork, a sieve-like structure through which the fluid in the eye normally drains. Trabeculectomy may be carried out under a general or local anaesthetic and involves cutting out a section of the blocked meshwork so that fluid can flow out freely. Your doctor may advise you to wear an eye shield for a few days while the eye heals. You should also avoid strenuous activity for several weeks after the procedure.
An incision is made in the white of the eye over the area where fluid normally drains away. The flap is pulled back to expose the trabecular meshwork, and a section of the blocked meshwork is cut out.
The flap in the white of the eye is replaced. Fluid can now drain around the edges of the flap and under the clear conjunctiva that covers the white of the eye. Pressure in the eye is then relieved.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.