Over three million Americans have glaucoma. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. When drug therapies and medications fail or are inappropriate, surgical treatment may be required. The two types of surgical techniques used in glaucoma surgery are laser treatment and conventional filtering microsurgery. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, surgery results stabilize vision and prevent future vision loss. Below is an overview of what to expect during recovery, as well as information on potential glaucoma surgery complications.
Glaucoma Laser Surgery Recovery
Glaucoma laser surgery decreases intraocular pressure by enhancing the eye’s drainage capabilities. Ophthalmologists typically recommend laser surgery over conventional microsurgery, unless the eye pressure is very high or the optic nerve is badly damaged.
Although many people can return to normal activities shortly after glaucoma surgery, most ophthalmologists advise patients to avoid heaving lifting, straining, and bending for a couple weeks. Periodic checkups are required to monitor the patient’s progress.
Glaucoma Laser Surgery Results
Following glaucoma surgery, the eye is usually red, irritated, and may tear. Unlike conventional glaucoma surgery, after which patients may experience blurriness for the first month or two after the procedure, laser glaucoma surgery results should stabilize over a shorter period of time – in as little as a few days – providing relief from glaucoma symptoms.
Glaucoma Laser Surgery Complications
As with any surgery, glaucoma laser surgery does carry some risk. Rare laser glaucoma surgery complications include a short term increase in intraocular pressure or an excessive drop in pressure. Both of these glaucoma surgery complications can be managed with medications. There is also a small risk of cataract formation after surgery.
Glaucoma Conventional Surgery Recovery
Ophthalmologists may recommend conventional glaucoma surgery if intraocular pressure is very high, the optic nerve badly damaged, or if laser surgery was unsuccessful. Patients usually experience little if any pain or discomfort during glaucoma surgery recovery. The surgery is done on an outpatient basis.
Generally, ophthalmologists advise patients to avoid heaving lifting, straining, and bending for the first couple weeks following surgery. Periodic checkups are required to monitor the patient’s glaucoma surgery recovery progress and results.
Glaucoma Conventional Surgery Results
The conventional glaucoma surgery recovery time is longer than that of the laser procedure. Typically, recovery requires two to four weeks; however, it may take up to two months for glaucoma surgery results to become apparent and vision to stabilize. Success rates for conventional glaucoma surgery are about 70 to 90 percent for at least one year.
Glaucoma Conventional Surgery Complications
Although risks are rare, conventional glaucoma surgery complications include bleeding, infection, discomfort, and pain. A loss of too much pressure can result in a loss of vision. As with any procedure, the glaucoma surgery complications should be balanced with the benefits of saving vision in the affected eye. Failure to treat glaucoma can result in permanent blindness.
Find a Glaucoma Specialist in Your Area through DocShop
If you are considering glaucoma surgery, talk to an ophthalmologist in detail about potential glaucoma surgery complications. Glaucoma surgery results have a very high success rate. With treatment, glaucoma progression can be slowed and additional vision loss avoided. Locate a glaucoma specialist near you using the DocShop directory.