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Associated Risks after Glaucoma Surgery

Like any other operation, glaucoma surgery comes with risks and […]

By Published On: 10 December 20122.5 min read

Like any other operation, glaucoma surgery comes with risks and possible complications. The chance of its success is enhanced if you follow the instructions of your eye doctor regarding the steps and medications that need to be taken after surgery. Still, there are risks involved, and these possible complications after a glaucoma operation can be classified into two types.

Early Glaucoma Surgery Risks

These complications may arise within a couple of weeks after the glaucoma operation:

•    Endophthalmitis. Endophthalmitis is the infection of the eyeball. This is a serious complication that may result into permanent blindness.  It is characterized by a yellowy discharge, wherein you may even see the fluid in the eyeball.

Endophthalmitis can be very excruciating. You will also have severe impairment in vision when you have this. Once you notice the symptoms, see a doctor immediately, as it will require antibiotic injection into the eyeball. Eye drops and oral medications will also be prescribed.

While the condition is serious, the chance of it happening is quite rare because glaucoma surgery has comprehensive cleaning and infection control techniques. To help the eye doctor even more, discuss any condition that you may have that can compromise your immune system. This will allow the doctor to implement even more precautionary measures.

•    Hypotony. The surgery may result into the draining out of more fluid than necessary. When the level of pressure in the eyeball gets too low, you have a condition called hypotony. This will affect the function of the macula and may result into a loss of vision.

This is the most common complication after glaucoma surgery that will bring about blurry vision. Most are mild versions that will correct itself over time. In severe cases however, another surgery may be needed.

Late Glaucoma Surgery Risks

These complications may arise two weeks after the surgery:

•    Blebitis. This is a condition in which the bleb, or the conjunctival elevation due to the amassing of fluid draining out from the eye, becomes infected. It is characterized by redness, pain and pus in the bleb. Immediate treatment with antibiotics and steroid eye drops is necessary.

•    Cataract. This is a common complication. While cataract occurs naturally as one age, a surgery will quicken the process. Cataract surgery is needed to fix this, though anti-scarring medication may be provided to prevent the drainage channel from failing.

•    Drainage Implant Problems. If drainage implants were placed, the inserted silicon tube may touch the cornea or the iris. This will result into a cloudy cornea or an inflammation in the eye.  The tube may also wear away from the eyeball. This problem usually occurs late. Surgery will be required to fix this.

•    Scarring. Scarring may occur when the drainage channel shuts down again. Eye pressure will go up once more. Bleb needling will have to be performed to open up and restore the drainage. Anti-scarring medication is also given.

Complications should be managed immediately. While some may be more tedious to fix than others, a good surgical outcome can be expected if these are dealt with properly.



  1. Linda Rembaum 7 May 2018 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    I saw very well after my baerveldt surgery. That lasted for about four or five months; then I noticed some blurry vision;went back to my surgeon who is two hours away from me and he recommended that I go to a retina specialist . Ihave very little vision out of my right eye and I’m seeing a retina specialist who diagnosed me with having swollen retina; after much medicine little by little the swelling is going down but the vision is not improving I actually think it’s getting worse I’m very very upset mostly depressed over this because I’ve done everything right and I don’t understand the situation

    • Jim Kokkinakis 22 August 2018 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      Sorry for the late reply. How is your vision now. Often after this procedure the pressure can go down too low and the retina will swell.

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