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A minimally invasive procedure to slow the progression of glaucoma

Elderly man examined by an ophthalmologist
A viscocanalostomy is a type of eye surgery that can help to slow or even stop the progression of a condition called glaucoma. It is a minor surgery that is typically recommended for patients who have been diagnosed with glaucoma and who have not responded well to other types of treatments. The operation creates a new drainage pathway for aqueous humour to leave your eye, meaning fluid no longer builds up in your eye causing pressure (which leads to glaucoma).

At Circle Health Group, we offer private viscocanalostomy treatment performed by experienced and highly skilled consultants. Our goal is to provide our patients with the highest quality care in a comfortable and supportive environment.

For more information on viscocanalostomy treatment, or any other option to treat glaucoma, call us directly or use our easy online booking system to arrange your initial consultation. You'll usually be able to find an appointment within 48 hours.

What is glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve where it leaves the eye. Often this is caused by a build-up of fluid, which creates an increase in eye pressure.

Because the optic nerve is the part of your eye that carries images from your retina (the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye) to your brain, optic nerve damage can seriously affect your vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Glaucoma often does not have symptoms in the early stages, however as it progresses you might experience blurry vision, coloured rings around bright lights or issues with your peripheral vision.

While we don't currently have a cure for glaucoma, there are many treatments available that can slow or even stop its progression, and may be able to reduce the symptoms. One of these is a viscocanalostomy procedure.

If you suffer from glaucoma, your eye pressure may have risen to a level where it causes damage to your optic nerve. As a result, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP)
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Redness or swelling in the eye
  • Vision loss or visual field changes

If you've been experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to speak with an eye specialist who can evaluate your condition and recommend appropriate treatment options. A viscocanalostomy may be one potential solution for managing your symptoms and preserving your vision. Every case is unique, so it's important to discuss your individual situation with a qualified healthcare professional.

If you're experiencing one of the following conditions, a viscocanalostomy may be the right treatment for you:


This is a common condition that causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to vision loss and potentially blindness. It occurs when there is too much fluid pressure inside the eye, which damages the optic nerve. A viscocanalostomy can help to relieve this pressure and reduce the risk of further damage.

Ocular hypertension

This is when the pressure inside the eye is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be considered glaucoma. If left untreated, it can develop into glaucoma. Viscocanalostomy can help to lower the pressure in the eye, reducing the risk of developing glaucoma.

Pseudoexfoliation glaucoma

This is a type of glaucoma that occurs when abnormal protein fibres accumulate in the eye, leading to increased pressure and optic nerve damage.

Pigmentary glaucoma

This is a rare form of glaucoma that occurs when pigment from the iris flakes off and clogs the drainage system of the eye, leading to increased pressure and damage to the optic nerve.

At your initial consultation, your specialist (usually a consultant ophthalmologist) will perform a thorough evaluation to determine the best course of treatment for you. This will include taking a detailed medical history and will typically involve tests and scans such as an eye examination.

Your first consultation is incredibly important, as it provides an opportunity for you to discuss your concerns with your consultant and for them to answer any questions you may have about the procedure. Your consultant will also take the time to explain the benefits, risks, and potential complications associated with viscocanalostomy, as well as any other treatments they recommend, so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment.

A viscocanalostomy is typically performed under local anaesthesia, which means the area around your eye will be numbed but you'll be awake the whole time.

Once you have been anaesthetised, your surgeon will begin by making a small incision into your eye and removing a piece of your sclera (the white outer layer of your eyeball). A thin membrane is left, meaning that liquid can drain out more easily.

They will also inject a viscoelastic material (a gel-like substance) into your eye, which helps stop the new hole from closing and creates a new channel through which your aqueous humour can drain. This new channel is typically created in the eye's trabecular meshwork, which is a spongy tissue that regulates the flow of fluid through the eye.

The procedure usually takes around 30 to 60 minutes.

Recovering from your viscocanalostomy

Viscocanalostomy is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home the same day. You won't be able to drive yourself home, though, so be sure to have someone collect you and help you home.

You may experience mild discomfort or redness in the affected eye after the procedure, but these symptoms usually subside within a few days. Your surgeon may recommend using eye drops or other medication to help manage any discomfort. It's important to follow all post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with a viscocanalostomy. These may include infection, bleeding, inflammation, and increased intraocular pressure. Other potential complications include cataracts, vision loss, and damage to the cornea.

Your consultant will take the time to explain the potential risks and complications associated with a viscocanalostomy in detail, so you can make an informed decision about whether this procedure is right for you.

It is important to note that many people undergo a viscocanalostomy without experiencing any significant complications. With proper care and follow-up, you can help reduce your risk of complications and ensure the best possible outcome. If you have any concerns about the potential risks associated with this procedure, your consultant will be happy to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this treatment.

Can I go swimming after viscocanalostomy surgery?

Avoid swimming and other water-related activities for a few weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on when it's safe to resume these activities.

Do viscocanalostomy stitches dissolve?

Yes, the stitches used during a viscocanalostomy procedure typically dissolve on their own over time.

Does viscocanalostomy cause cataracts?

While it's possible for a cataract to develop after a viscocanalostomy procedure, it's not a common occurrence. Your surgeon will monitor you for any signs of cataracts during follow-up appointments.

Does viscocanalostomy leave a bleb?

Yes, a bleb or blister-like protrusion on the surface of the eye is a common result of a viscocanalostomy procedure. It's a sign that the pressure in your eye has been lowered.

How long do you wear an eye patch after a viscocanalostomy?

You may need to wear an eye patch for a day or two after your procedure, but your surgeon will give you specific instructions based on your individual circumstances.

Is a goniotome used in viscocanalostomy?

A goniotome is a tool used to perform a different type of glaucoma surgery. It is not typically used during a viscocanalostomy procedure.

Is a viscocanalostomy a cure for glaucoma?

While a viscocanalostomy can help lower the pressure in your eye, it's not a cure for glaucoma. However, it can help manage the condition and prevent further vision loss.

Is a viscocanalostomy safe?

As with any surgery, there are some risks associated with a viscocanalostomy procedure. However, the procedure is generally considered safe, and your surgeon will take steps to minimise any risks.

Is a viscocanalostomy minimally invasive?

Yes, a viscocanalostomy is considered a minimally invasive procedure. It typically involves a small incision and does not require removal of any tissue.

Is a viscocanalostomy painful?

You may experience some discomfort after your viscocanalostomy procedure, but your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help manage any pain or discomfort.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard and delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about viscocanalostomy or any other glaucoma treatment, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

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