Filtration Surgery (Glaucoma) Summary

Filtration surgery or trabeculectomy is done to help patients with open angle glaucoma. The surgery is done when medicines or laser surgery fail to alleviate eye pressure. If left untreated glaucoma can cause blindness.

Length of the procedure: 30 to 60 minutes

Hospital Stay: Patients are released from care the same day or within 24 hours of their procedure.

Recovery before traveling home: Patients seeking a filtration surgery through medical tourism can return home 2 to 3 days of their procedure.

Travel Tip: After filtration eye surgery you will need to have a follow-up appointment within 24 hours. Find a comfortable handicap accessible hotel room to recover in during this time.

Procedure Details

The filtration procedure begins with the administration of anesthesia to help you relax. Your eye will also be numbed with local anesthetic. In most cases you will be awake, but comfortable during this procedure.

Once you are fully relaxed the surgeon will make a small hole in the top part of your eye lid so they can make a hole in your sclera. Then, they will take a piece of the clear skin that covers your eye and use it to cover the hole they made in sclera. Fluid from the eye will flow from the hole and form a pocket. The pocket is called a bleb. This allows the pressure of your eye to maintain a healthy level.

After the Procedure

After the filtration surgery you will be taken to recovery. Your vitals and surgical wound will be closely monitored. If all goes well you will be released from care or moved to a regular hospital room for continued hospital recovery.

Most likely your eye will be taped shut right after the procedure. You may also have a protective covering placed over your eye. You will be required to wear the bandage for 24 hours after the procedure.

Self care after cataract surgery:

  • Take antibiotics
  • Take corticosteriods as prescribed
  • Wear eye shield when sleeping for 1 month
  • Light activity may resume in 48 hours
  • Vigorous activity, heavy lifting and straining should be avoided for 8 weeks
  • Do not strain when going the bathroom
  • Avoid hot tubs or pools
  • Avoid eye make up for 1 week
  • Try not to sneeze or cough
  • Return to work in 1 week


For most people filtration surgery prevents visual field loss and lessens the build up of pressure in the eye. However, it is not uncommon for people to need a second filtration surgery or additional glaucoma treatments done the line. What’s more, is that certain demographics are less likely to respond favorably to filtration surgery including:

  • Kids with congenital glaucoma
  • African Americans
  • People with glaucoma that has caused blood vessel growth on the iris
  • People who have diabetes
  • People who had eye surgery in the past

It is also important to note that filtration surgery does not cure glaucoma.

Risks and Complications

As is with any procedure there are risks associated with filtration surgery. The following is a list of the most common risks and complications:

  • Scarring of the opening
  • Severe blurring
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Low eye pressure
  • Clouding of the lens or cataract
  • Fluid build up under the nerve
  • Central vision loss
  • Infection
  • Droopy eyelid
Contact your physician if any of the following occur:
  • Sudden severe eye pain develops
  • Sudden change in vision
  • Fever that is 100.4 degrees or higher
  • Chills
  • Cold or flu develops
  • Allergies develop or get worse
  • Sinus infection develops
  • Any question or concern regarding your glaucoma or surgery
  • Redness or swelling
  • Yellow drainage from eye
  • Complete loss of vision