Question: Are there any surgical procedures that can help with glaucoma, and when might surgery be necessary?
Answer: In fact, there are many different surgical procedures that can be used for the management of glaucoma. Some of the procedures involve using a laser, generally to enhance the drainage from the eye by allowing the tissues of the eye to try to work better. These laser procedures are generally very safe and are also very effective and can be used either in the earlier parts of the disease or after all medication options have failed.
There are also incisional surgical procedures. By incisional, I mean going to the operating room in which parts of the eye or certain tissues are incised and perhaps even removed to allow -- to create, rather -- a new channel to allow drainage to be enhanced so that the eye pressure can be lowered. One of the most common surgeries that are performed for glaucoma is filtration surgery or trabeculectomy. In this procedure, a full thickness channel is made through the eye to allow fluid from the inside part of the eye to drain to the outside part of the eye.
In addition to this procedure there's also something called tube shunt surgery in which an implant or foreign material or small tube is used to drain fluid from the inside part of the eye to the outside part of the eye. These procedures are generally also very effective but carry a little bit more risk with them.