Visual improvement following glaucoma surgery: a case reportReport as inadecuate

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BMC Ophthalmology

, 14:162



BackgroundGlaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy and a leading cause of blindness. Neural losses from glaucoma are irreversible, and so the aim of glaucoma treatment is to slow progression and minimize the risk of further damage. Functional improvement with treatment is not expected. We report the case of a patient who experienced a significant improvement in vision following glaucoma surgery and review the literature regarding this phenomenon.

Case presentationA 64-year old male presented with a 13-month history of gradual vision loss in the right eye to the extent that he could only perceive hand movements. His intraocular pressure IOP measured 50 mmHg and he was found to have advanced primary open angle glaucoma. Medical treatment was commenced and he underwent a successful right Mitomycin C-augmented trabeculectomy. Unexpectedly he experienced marked improvement in vision post-operatively, with improvements maintained through six months of follow-up. At his most recent visit visual acuity was 6-18 in the affected eye. Although the mechanism of improved vision cannot be proven it is likely that successful lowering of IOP resulted in some reversal of retinal ganglion cell dysfunction. Important factors may have included his relatively young age, high IOP and short duration of symptoms.

ConclusionAlthough rare, functional improvements may occur following trabeculectomy. Glaucoma surgery should be offered early to those with advanced disease, and considered even in those with reduced visual acuity.

KeywordsGlaucoma Trabeculectomy Neuroregeneration Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2415-14-162 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: William S Foulsham - Lanxing Fu - Andrew J Tatham


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