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Sharp HealthCare (YouTube)

Sharp HealthCare (YouTube)

Treating Glaucoma with Trabecular Bypass Stent Surgery

Treating Glaucoma with Trabecular Bypass Stent Surgery

What is trabecular bypass stent surgery for glaucoma? A brief video created by the American Academy of Ophthalmology describes this minimally-invasive procedure.

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Has your doctor recommended a trabecular bypass stent implant to treat your mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma? Learn more about this tiny device, how it works, and what the surgery involves, so you can make informed decisions about your eye care.* 

The purpose of a stent 

Your eye naturally, and continuously, produces a fluid that nourishes the eye and helps maintain its normal shape and pressure. The fluid exits your eye through an internal drainage system called the trabecular meshwork located in the area between your cornea (the clear layer of your eye where a contact lens would be placed) and the sclera (the white of your eye).

If this drainage system doesn’t work well, an increase of the eye’s internal pressure can result (same amount of fluid being made, but not draining at the same pace). This pressure increase can damage your optic nerve, causing glaucoma. The insertion of a trabecular bypass stent (a tiny, tube-like device) provides another path for the outgoing fluid.

What to expect from the surgery 

Trabecular bypass stent implantation is an outpatient procedure, and is approved by the U.S. FDA to be performed during cataract surgery. Before surgery, the patient will receive the same anesthetic and preoperative preparation that they would if they were having cataract surgery alone. 

Implanting the trabecular bypass stent involves a small incision being made in your cornea, which is another common part of cataract surgery. You may feel a mild pressure in your eye during the implantation procedure. 

Potential risks of trabecular bypass stent surgery

Trabecular bypass stent surgery carries the same few potential risks of cataract surgery alone, though with the additional risk of stent blockage or dislocation. 

Stent implantation may not be recommended for patients with angle-closure glaucoma, patients with conditions such as thyroid eye disease and Sturge-Weber syndrome, for juvenile patients, or for those with chronic inflammatory disease. 

Other surgeries are also available. Be sure to ask your ophthalmologist their reasons for choosing trabecular bypass stent surgery.

If glaucoma is left untreated

While surgery isn’t always required for glaucoma, some form of treatment is necessary. If left untreated, glaucoma may result in visual disability or, in extreme cases, blindness. While glaucoma treatments (including surgeries) don’t improve vision, they do prevent further vision loss down the road. 

Don’t hesitate to discuss any questions or concerns about the trabecular bypass stent, or eye health and vision in general, with your ophthalmologist.

*Sharp HealthCare. (2017, February 16). Trabecular Bypass Stent for Glaucoma [Video file]. Sharp Healthcare. Retrieved from

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