Bleb Care After Trabeculectomy

Trabeculectomy surgery for glaucoma results in the creation of a drainage “bubble” under the upper eyelid. Aqueous fluid flows from the eye into this bubble, which is called a bleb. The aqueous fluid is absorbed into tiny blood vessels, keeping eye pressure low.

The bleb tissue is fragile, and it is important to take care of it to maintain proper functioning. Patients should avoid rubbing the bleb; direct contact with this area should be avoided. Patients should wear protective eyewear when engaging in sporting activities.

A bleb that functions well is often thin and is susceptible to infection. If there is any sign of redness or drainage, call your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) immediately. An infected bleb can lead to pain, decreased vision, and potentially even loss of vision. Patients who have had anti-scarring medication, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or mitomycin C, are even more prone to infection. Your ophthalmologist will tell you if this is the case for you.

Another complication that can occur either early or late is a bleb leak. If you detect any abnormal tearing or a change in visual acuity, you need to have your eye examined by your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

A well-functioning trabeculectomy bleb can last a lifetime. Proper care and maintenance can help ensure that the bleb continues to control your eye pressure.

(c) 2007 The American Academy of Ophthalmology

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