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Viscocanalostomy

Why you might need this treatment, how it works and what to expect from your recovery

A viscocanalostomy is a surgical treatment for 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. It is a serious condition that can cause loss of vision and even result in blindness.  

Glaucoma can be caused by an increase in pressure in the eye. Fluid, also known as 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. 

A  viscocanalostomy is when part of the white outer covering of your eyeball – known as the sclera – is removed so fluid can drain from your eye more easily.  

At BMI Healthcare, our specialist Consultants offer fast diagnosis and will create a bespoke treatment plan based on your individual needs. 

Most people don’t know there is a problem in the early stages of glaucoma because it is usually painless, and the 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.   

You can use eye drops to lower the pressure in your eyes. All drug treatments carry the possibility of side effects and allergic reactions, and there is also the possibility that they cannot bring the pressure problem completely under control.  

Laser treatment may be suitable for you, but often the condition comes back. A viscocanalostomy also carries a lower risk of cataract development than laser treatment. 

If you don’t have treatment, your optic nerve will become increasingly damaged. If you leave it untreated you are likely to lose vision in your eye. A viscocanalostomy will not improve your vision but may stop it getting worse.

During a viscocanalostomy, your surgeon will remove a piece of your sclera, leaving a thin membrane, meaning that liquid can drain out easier. This should help to reduce the intraocular pressure.  

During the process, they will inject a viscoelastic material – a material that has properties of a viscous liquid and an elastic solid – into your eye, which is where the surgery gets its name.

Recovery varies between individuals, so speak to your doctor about what to expect. Remember, you won’t be able to drive home after the operation and you should not drive until you can read a number plate from 20.5m away.   

You will need to return the clinic during the first few weeks after your operation to check on your recovery.  

For the first four to six weeks avoid swimming as this will expose your eye to infection. Contact sports and wearing eye make-up should also be avoided.

There are some risks and side effects involved with glaucoma surgery, including:

  • Pain;
  • Bleeding after surgery;
  • Infection, which can result in blurred vision or even permanent loss of vision;
  • Severe bleeding inside the eye during surgery which may cause permanent loss of vision;
  • Too much fluid draining, which is very common. If it does not settle, you may need a further operation and
  • Failure of the operation. You may need eye drops or further treatment to control the pressure.

This is not a definitive list and symptoms will vary with each patient. Please ask your Consultant for more information.

Our 500 trusted eyecare experts offer personalised care at over 40 BMI Healthcare centres across the UK.  

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

Your private viscocanalostomy 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.
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