Alberta Eye MD

2731 Hewes Way NW Suite 103

Edmonton, Alberta T6L 6W6



Glaucoma Surgery FAQ's

1. What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that can result in permanent irreversible loss of vision and complete blindness if left untreated.

2. What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Often patients do not even know that they have glaucoma. In earlier stages, vision seems normal and there is no pain. In later stages, vision is lost and once gone, it will not return. In some types of acute glaucoma, pain and redness of the eye can be present.

3. How do I know if I have glaucoma?

Through your doctor’s eye examinations as well as various tests, he or she can assess the optic nerve structure and function. Your doctor can then determine if you have glaucoma.

4. What are the treatment options of glaucoma?

All treatment options for glaucoma are aimed at lowering the pressure inside the eye to protect the optic nerve from becoming more damaged.

5. Will I regain any vision or visual field loss from any of the treatments?

No, it will only protect further loss of vision.

6. Is glaucoma surgery right for me?

Your doctor will determine if glaucoma surgery is the better treatment specific to your situation. This depends on several different factors, such as the type of glaucoma, mechanism, progression, severity, age, other eye related diseases, vision potential, among other things.

7. Are there different types of glaucoma surgeries?

Yes, there are several different types of glaucoma surgeries. Our glaucoma surgeon team at Alberta Eye MD are leaders in glaucoma surgical innovation in Canada. Our surgeons often teach and train other eye surgeons to perform or improve various techniques. Some minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries take only a few minutes to perform and healing time is quick. Other glaucoma surgeries take thirty to sixty minutes to perform and are indicated for more serious diseases.

8. Can there be complications of glaucoma surgery?

Yes, as in all surgery, risk is always present. Risk of infection is 1 in 1000. Most complications are temporary and resolve within first few weeks after surgery. Dry eye, foreign body sensation, blurred vision, mild discomfort are common in the first few weeks after surgery. In minimally invasive glaucoma surgery such as iStent, GATT, Goniotomy or ECP laser, serious long-term complications are uncommon but still can occur. In filtering procedures for more serious or advanced glaucoma such as Trabeculectomy, Ahmed Shunt, Bardvelt Shunt, Clearpath Shunt, Preserflo Shunt, Xen Shunt and Cyclophotocoagulation laser procedures, complications can be more common than in angle-based surgeries such as iStent or GATT. Complications include pressure going too low resulting in more blurred vision, pressure spikes causing more vision loss, scarring and failure of surgery to achieve the intraocular pressure lowering effect. Less common complications include lid droopiness, double vision, chronic discomfort and infection. Although blindness is extremely rare, it can occur. Your glaucoma surgeon will balance out all risks and benefits of surgery for you and help you decide what is the best treatment to maximize the chance of maintaining long term vision potential.

9. What is chance for success for surgery?

80% success if initial surgery. Lower if previous surgeries.

10. If I have glaucoma surgery, will I ever need eye surgery again?

Sometimes yes. Disease can still progress or worsen despite having surgery. Repeat surgery is sometimes necessary.

11. How long does it take for my eye to heal?

Depending on type of surgery, it can take anywhere from one to ten weeks. For the more conventional glaucoma surgeries, there can be reduction in vision, irritation, foreign body sensation, tearing and dryness in the initial weeks. The eye pressure also often tends to fluctuate either too low or too high for several weeks after surgery before it stabilizes. Our surgeons will be doing regular post-operative examinations to ensure maximum outcome and success of your surgery.

12. How much time do I need off of work?

Between one to four weeks, depending on the type of surgery. Your surgeon will let you know according to your situation.

13. Will I still need to use glaucoma eye drops immediately after glaucoma surgery?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It will depend on your surgery type. As a general rule, if this is a minimally invasive procedure such as iStent, ECP, Gonioscopy Assisted Transluminal Trabeculotomy (GATT), you will continue to use all of your glaucoma drops initially, unless otherwise instructed not to. If this is a glaucoma filtering surgery such as Preserflo, Xen, Trabeculectomy, Ahmed Shunt, you will stop your glaucoma drops immediately after surgery unless otherwise directed. If this is a Bardvelt or Clearpath Shunt, it is best to ask your surgeon.  

14. Will one eye heal differently than the other?

Often yes. Even if one eye was successful or did not require glaucoma drops after surgery does not mean the other eye will respond the same way. Surgery healing varies with each eye and one eye having success does not predict the other eye having the same success. Sometimes one or both eyes will require long term glaucoma drops or further surgery.

15. Decision

Glaucoma surgery is recommended when the benefit of surgery to lower the eye pressure to protect the optic nerve from further deterioration outweighs the risks of the surgery itself. Glaucoma surgery is more complex and variable than smaller surgeries like cataract surgery. There are no perfect treatments or cures for glaucoma. Your doctor will discuss with you his or her recommendations for treatment. It is your responsibility to decide if glaucoma surgery is right for you.

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Hours of Operation

Each ophthalmologist's clinic hours will vary.

Alberta Eye MD


8:30 am-4:00 pm


8:30 am-4:00 pm


8:30 am-4:00 pm


8:30 am-4:00 pm


8:30 am-4:00 pm


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