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Trabecular stent bypass

Find out how this glaucoma treatment can help you, and what to expect from your recovery

A trabecular stent bypass is a form of surgery used to treat glaucoma.   

The optic nerve carries images from the retina (light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye) to the brain, allowing you to see. Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve where it leaves the eye.  

Glaucoma can be caused by an increase in pressure in the eye, also known as intraocular pressure. Fluid (aqueous) is constantly made in the eye and drains out slowly into the bloodstream. The pressure in the eye can increase if the fluid does not drain out enough.  

Most people don’t know there is a problem in the early stages of glaucoma because it is usually painless, and side vision tends to be affected first. Sometimes the optic nerve can be damaged, even though the pressure in your eye is within the normal range.  

A trabecular stent bypass involves putting a small metal tube into your eye to help the fluid drain out. This glaucoma surgery aims to reduce pressure in the eye and stop your sight deteriorating.  

Your Consultant might recommend an iStent Inject, which is a trabecular micro-bypass stent. iStent Inject fits two tiny titanium tubes which help to drain the fluid and ease intraocular pressure. 

You can use eye drops to lower the pressure in your eyes, but all glaucoma medications carry the possibility of side effects and allergic reactions. There is also the possibility that they cannot bring the eye pressure problem completely under control.     

Laser treatment may be suitable for you, but often the condition comes back. Laser treatment can result in the development of cataracts, but a trabecular stent bypass lasts longer and carries a lower risk of cataracts.    

If you don’t have glaucoma treatment, your optic nerve will become increasingly damaged. If you leave it untreated you are likely to lose vision in your eye. The results of a trabecular stent bypass will not improve your vision but may stop it getting worse. 

You will have a local anaesthetic to numb the eye and surrounding area. Your surgeon will then make a tiny slit in your cornea – the transparent, protective layer on the outside of your eye – and fit a stent. This will create a bypass between two parts of your eye, making it easier for fluid to drain out and reduce pressure in the eye.

Your eye will be covered up with a pad until the next day, and you’ll need to take antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.  

Recovery varies between patients, but you should be able to continue with your usual daily activities quite soon. Your vision might be blurry for up to six weeks after surgery, and it’s recommended that you avoid strenuous activity, swimming, eye make-up and contact sports during healing.

All surgery carries the risk of infection and pain. There also could be inflammation of the eye and swelling, but these effects fade. Issues with pressure can occur, so it is important to attend your follow-up appointments so your Consultant can monitor your recovery.

As with any eye operation, there is the possibility of reduced vision as a result. This is not desired, of course, but uncontrolled glaucoma can lead to reduction in vision. The decision to carry out a trabecular stent bypass is always a balance of risk versus benefit for the individual patient.  

Our 500 trusted eye care experts offer personalised care at over 40 Circle Health centres across the UK.

Our experts in affordable eye care offer fast access to treatment in a safe and comfortable environment.

Your trabecular stent bypass will provide the best possible outcome, along with excellent value for money, to help improve your quality of life.  

What you pay will depend on the exact treatment you need. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation.