Important Information – Please Read Carefully!
The goal of glaucoma surgery is to lower the pressure inside the eye. Generally, a small channel or drain is made through the white part of the eye (sclera) into the front chamber of the eye (anterior chamber). This drain is typically located beneath the upper eyelid. The drain is basically an incision designed to remain partially open.
Fluid from inside the eye flows through this incision and drains into the tissue layers on the outside of the eye, thus lowering the eye pressure. Like any incision, this drain may heal over. Complete healing of this drain would result in failure of the surgery, because without the drain the pressure would go back up to unsafe levels. Following glaucoma surgery it is extremely important to monitor the drain to prevent it from healing over. This generally involves several visits to the office during the first two months after surgery.
- VISION / EYEGLASSES / PATCHING: Immediately following surgery your eye will be patched. The patch typically stays on until the doctor sees you the next day. Therefore you will be totally dependent on your other eye for vision until the patch is taken off. Even when the patch is removed, your vision will be less sharp than it was before surgery. This blurred vision is normal and lasts for several days or even a few weeks. Once the patch is removed you can resume wearing your glasses. It is important to wear some form of eye protection at all times. Generally, this means wearing glasses during waking hours and the shield while sleeping.
- PAIN CONTROL: It is common to have some discomfort after glaucoma surgery. Typically this is mild. Additionally, the eye will probably be red for several days following surgery. Unless you have a specific allergy, Tylenol may be used for mild pain. Severe and persistent pain is unusual after surgery. If you should have severe pain, please call us immediately.
- ACTIVITY: Following surgery, it is best to avoid significant exertion such as running, jumping, swimming or prolonged bending. You may walk, read, watch television and do light household activities. You should generally avoid any heavy lifting during the first week following surgery (nothing heavier than a small bag of groceries for example).
- HYGIENE: You may bathe and shower. You may wash your hair with your head held upright or back, but avoid prolonged bending forward. It is important to wear the shield for protection. Additionally, use a shower mat to improve traction and prevent slipping. You may shave and wash your face but avoid any direct pressure on the eye. If the eye collects matter, you may gently clean it with a warm, damp washcloth or cotton balls. Avoid using any eye irrigation solution that is put directly into the eye.
- OFFICE VISITS: You can expect to have several office visits following glaucoma surgery; typically, three to five visits during the first month are needed in order to monitor the new drain very closely. If the drain is sluggish and the pressure in your eye begins to get too high, one of the stitches may be cut to open the drain further. This is typically done with the laser and is entirely painless and routine. It is required in about 50% of cases.
- EYE DROPS: Following surgery, all glaucoma medications are stopped in the eye that has had surgery. However, you should continue with any drops that you were using in your other eye. Pills for glaucoma (Diamox or Neptazane) should be discontinued as well. Most patients are given two new drops which are used for a short time after surgery to help the eye recover. These new drops are used frequently at first and then are slowly tapered. Please bring all of your eye drops to the office on each visit. All medications unrelated to your eye, for example heart or blood pressure medicines, should be continued following surgery.
Any surgery causes anxiety and concern. Our office staff would like to help ease your anxiety in every way possible. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help you.