What are the Side Effects of Glaucoma Surgery?

eye glaucoma treatment

Glaucoma can ultimately lead to blindness, which can drastically change your life. Surgery may be the only option as eye glaucoma treatment in order to prevent blindness. Glaucoma surgery comes with potential risks, however, but the benefits usually outweigh the potential problems in the most advanced glaucoma cases.

This treatment is considered to be the best option when other treatments such as glaucoma medications or laser techniques have not worked for the patient. There are a number of risks that you should consider before deciding to undergo glaucoma surgery.

Vision Loss

Vision loss is common shortly after the surgery as your vision will be disrupted. This is usually a temporary side effect, but there is a slight chance that the surgery will permanently render you blind or make your vision worse.

Bleeding

This side effect is not very common, but bleeding can occur inside of the eye from surgery. Infections or fluid pockets may also form after surgery. Be sure to speak with your ophthalmologist about any medications you are on, especially blood thinners, before undergoing surgery.

Low Eye Pressure.

Glaucoma results from too much eye pressure, but surgery can actually make the pressure become too low in your eyes. This is called hypotony and is a common temporary side effect shortly following surgery. The fluid may form right behind the retina, causing you to see a shadow in your side vision. The pressure in your eyes will usually return to normal, but sometimes this side effect persists, and another surgery is required to correct it.

Infections

Infections are a possible side effect of any surgery, so antibiotics are given before, during, and after the surgery is complete. Sterile techniques during surgery are also used to prevent infections. Sometimes infections may still occur, which can lead to blindness. Infections can happen at any time after surgery, even years later. Early signs include pain, redness, and excessive tearing. If any of these symptoms become apparent, your ophthalmologist should be called so they can treat the infection before it progresses.

Cataract

Any cataracts that have started to form will probably progress rapidly as a result of glaucoma surgery, but cataracts are an easy surgical fix. If you have cataracts, your glaucoma surgery may be combined with cataract surgery to take care of both issues at once. In some cases, however, it is better to do each eye surgery separate.

Scarring

The eyes have a natural ability to heal and tend to scar, which can result in high eye pressure. This is a more common side effect than low eye pressure. If the eye is too scarred, the surgery may not have any effect. In this case, glaucoma medications may need to be restarted and another type of surgery to address the scarring scheduled. Overall, glaucoma surgery may be a great treatment option, and success rates are estimated to be in the 70 to 90 percent range. A glaucoma specialist can help you decide which treatment is best for you.