Please be aware, the information on this page relates to Luton & Dunstable University Hospital

Trabeculectomy Aftercare

Pain Control

Normal over the counter painkillers may be used if required. Do not be alarmed that your eye is a bit red or bloodshot – this will gradually resolve.

Wound Care

In the first week and if your eye becomes sticky, bathe it with boiled cooled water and tissues. Wipe from below the lower eyelid area & NEVER press the eyeball itself (especially the top half of the eyeball where the operation is situated). During this time, the eye may have a very low pressure. It is important to protect the eye and avoid lifting heavy things, straining, or rubbing the eye. Throw away the tissues after touching the eye. Remember to wash your hands before and after touching your eye.

Wear your eye shield at night for 2 weeks after the operation to prevent you from rubbing your eye when asleep. Sleep on the opposite side of the operated eye. You will need to buy some tape to keep the eye shield in place. Micropore tape is kinder to your skin than Cellotape.

Eye Drops After Your Operation

You will be given special eye drops to use for two to three months after the operation. For the first few weeks certain anti-inflammatory eye drops may be prescribed every one to two hours. These should be instilled during waking hours only i.e. you do not need to get up in the middle of the night to put these eye drops in.

Please start using your postoperative drops as instructed on your discharge letter. There are devices to help you with putting in (your) eye drops.

How to apply eye drops:

  1. Tilt your head back
  2. Gently pull the lower eyelid down until there is a small pocket.
  3. Squeeze the upturned dropper to release a drop into your eye.
  4. Release the lower lid and close your eyes for 30 seconds.

Sometimes eye drops are used to relax the muscles in the eye, to prevent infection, and reduce soreness and swelling. Occasionally, a tablet may be given to further reduce inflammation. It is important to take these medicines as directed to make sure the operation is successful.

You should STOP the previous glaucoma eye drops in the operated eye but continue your usual glaucoma eye drops in the non-operated eye.


If you have had a general anaesthetic, you should NOT drive for 24 hours. After this, you should be fit to drive as normal, providing you do not feel any after effects and you can perform an emergency stop without any pain. Your car insurance will be invalid if you drive when you are not medically fit to do so.


Your vision may be slightly blurred for a few days to several weeks after the operation. You may be advised to change your glasses after the operation and usually this will be about 3 months after the operation once your eye has settled down. Sometimes your vision will be blurred due to your pupil being opened on purpose and due to a change in shape of the eye after the operation. This will settle gradually over the next few weeks.

Sleep / Rest & Other Activity

If you have had a general anaesthetic, you may feel more tired than normal in the first few days after your operation. This is normal and you should rest whenever you feel tired.

You may read and watch television. You can wear sunglasses for comfort if the sunlight is too bright. When you feel fully recovered from your operation keep as mobile as you usually are, but avoid sporting activities and swimming until advised by your doctor (for at least for 2 weeks). Be careful not to strain when bending or lifting and remember to bend at your knees when stooping down. Stop sexual activity for 1-2 weeks after your operation.

Personal Hygiene

You should avoid getting shampoo in the eye. When washing your hair keep your head tipped back & do not let any shampoo get into your eye. Remember to wash your hands before and after touching your eye.

Returning to work / sick certificates

You should be fit to return to work 1-2 weeks after your operation. If you require a sick certificate one can be issued to you before you leave the hospital. If you require a further certificate you will need to see you GP.

Your Postop Outpatient Appointments

The Consultant will check how the operation is working and make adjustments to the trabeculectomy to get the best surgical result. Sometimes an anti-scarring medication is given to the eye postoperatively. The Consultant will examine your eye either the same day before you are discharged or the following day. Your other postoperative appointments will usually be scheduled as follows:

  • Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4 and then
  • Sometimes months 2 and 3 before you see your optician

You should avoid booking a holiday for approximately the first 2 months after the operation.

For further information or concerns

Please telephone 01582 491166 and ask for the operator to bleep the Ophthalmic Nurse Practitioner, Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.

After 5pm and at weekends ask the operator to bleep the on call doctor.