We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Glaucoma Eye Surgery?

By Mike Howells
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Glaucoma is a painful disease in which fluid builds up in one or both eyes, increasing intra-ocular pressure and causing severe discomfort and, eventually, blindness if not treated. There are a number of treatments available for glaucoma sufferers, ranging from the mild to the complex. The most involved option recommended by doctors is surgery. Glaucoma eye surgery, of which there are two main types, attempts to increase fluid drainage within the eye, thereby reducing pressure, pain, and damage to the optic nerve.

The two types of glaucoma eye surgery are laser and incision, which involves a traditional scalpel. They are not always interchangeable procedures, and laser treatment is typically recommended before physical surgery. Both, however, are usually only suggested as options after drug therapies have been tried or dismissed for various reasons.

The laser treatment for glaucoma generally involves creating a number of very small scars in the eye's natural drainage system, which is called the trabecular meshwork. It is a virtually painless procedure and done on an out-patient basis. If successful, the scars increase the ability of the natural drainage system to evacuate fluid. Laser glaucoma eye surgery has the benefit of allowing for quick recovery, with a large proportion of patients even being able to drive the following day.

Traditional incision surgery for glaucoma typically involves making a small hole near the bottom of the front of the eye, leaving a small flap of tissue connected to help regulate discharge. This procedure is known as a trabeculectomy, and though it is also an outpatient procedure, it usually causes patients more discomfort and takes longer to recover from than the laser option.

A newer variation of the trabeculectomy is called a viscocanalostomy, which involves only perforating tissue at the bottom of the eye rather than punching a hole through it. This technique is considered less invasive and more of a middle ground between laser surgery and a full incision. Like the latter, though, it is also often done under general anethesia, which typically increases recovery time.

The success rate for either type of glaucoma eye surgery is good, usually ranging from 70% to 90%. In some cases, however, the hole or laser work may heal over and lead to increasing pressure again. Repeat surgeries are possible, and, for patients who have multiple recurrences, it may become necessary to install a physical stent to maintain a drainage hole. Interestingly, the failure rate is higher in younger people, as they are more likely to heal than the elderly.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.