Glaucoma Specialist

Glaucoma Drainage Tube

There are a multitude of ways to treat glaucoma. More conservative treatment options such as laser surgery, and medicinal eye drops are used to lower intraocular pressure (IOP).  When these conservative methods are unsuccessful, Dr Skalicky may suggest a Glaucoma Drainage Tube.

18. Drainage tube

Glaucoma Drainage Tube Surgery

A drainage tube is inserted into the eye to lower eye pressure.

The device has the appearance of a small hollow tube connected to a drainage plate. The tube is inserted into the front of the eye to drain fluid. This fluid travels along the tube and enters onto a plate. This plate is hidden from view outside and behind the eye.

The tube is stented by a thick piece of black nylon to prevent over-drainage. This can be later removed if the pressure remains high.

Often a piece of donor sclera (the white part of the eye, from the eye-bank) is used to reinforce the tube. There is no risk of rejection and no additional immunosuppression is required for this.

The surgery can take up to 1 hour and is most often carried out under a general anaesthetic.

The aim of the operation is to reduce the risk of further damage to the optic nerve by lowering the eye pressure. It will not improve your sight, but will hopefully help protect your vision in the long term.

Prior to Glaucoma Drainage Tube Surgery

On the day of surgery, you will arrive at the private hospital facility fasted. If necessary you can take medications with a small sip of water. You will need to arrange your own transport to the private hospital.

If you're on blood thinning agents (eg warfarin, pradaxa, aspirin or clopidogrel) these probably need to be ceased before surgery. Please discuss this with our surgical booking team. They can be restarted the day following the surgery.

Prior to the operation, you will be met by hospital staff and by the anaesthetist. The surgery will be performed in an operating theatre. You will most likely be put to sleep by the anaesthetist for the duration of the operation.

Post Glaucoma Drainage Tube Surgery

The eye will be covered by a pad after the procedure which you should leave on until you get home.

You will be unable to drive immediately after your surgery, so you should arrange your own transport on the day of the surgery and the clinic appointment on the following day. You will be seen regularly over the next few weeks by Dr Skalicky.

Short term side effects between 2-6 weeks post-surgery include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Gritty sensation in the eye
  • Redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Sometimes the surgery can slightly alter the power of your eye focus, requiring a change in glasses.

Post-operative care

  • Pain relief: paracetamol or panadeine.
  • You should continue all your regular glaucoma medications unless otherwise instructed by your Ophthalmologist. You will be commenced on two additional drops – one antibiotic (one drop 4 times daily for 1 week) and one anti-inflammatory (one drop 6 times daily). The frequency of the anti-inflammatory will be reduced over the next few weeks, but you will need these drops for a total of 3 months.

Why choose Dr Skalicky for your Glaucoma Drainage Tube

Glaucoma surgery is technically demanding, and precision work and care is required during and following the operation. Dr Skalicky is an impeccably trained glaucoma surgeon, able to deliver all forms of glaucoma surgery with excellence. His gentle and warm care combined with a meticulous surgical approach ensures optimal results. He diligently follows his patients following surgery and communicates well with them and their family throughout the process.

Accreditations & Credentials

Dr Skalicky is an active clinician, surgeon, researcher, teacher, academic and health advocate who has published over 40 articles in international Ophthalmology journals. Known as an Ophthalmologist ahead of the times, Dr Skalicky’s career highlights are exceptional and atypical for his age.