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Surgery involves either laser treatment or making a cut in the eye to reduce the intraocular pressure. The type of surgery your doctor recommends will depend on the type and severity of your glaucoma and the general health of your eye.
Surgery can help lower pressure when medication is not sufficient. However, it cannot reverse vision loss.
Doctors often recommend laser surgery before incisional surgery, unless the eye pressure is very high or the optic nerve is badly damaged. During laser surgery, a focused beam of light is used to treat the eye's trabecular meshwork (the eye's drainage system). This helps increase the flow of fluid out of the eye.
In contrast, conventional surgery (filtering or incisional surgery) involves creating a drainage hole with the use of a small surgical tool. This new opening allows the intraocular fluid to bypass the clogged drainage canals and flow out of this new, artificial drainage canal.
When laser surgery does not successfully lower eye pressure, or the pressure begins to rise again, the doctor may recommend conventional surgery. If necessary, glaucoma surgery can be done several times without substantial risk.
Last reviewed on August 19, 2016