Trabeculectomy is a surgical operation which lowers the intraocular pressure inside the eye (IOP) in patients with glaucoma. This is achieved by making a small hole in the eye wall (sclera), covered by a thin trap-door in the sclera. The fluid inside the eye known as aqueous humour, drains through the trap-door to a small reservoir or bleb just under the eye surface, hidden by the eyelid. The trap-door is sutured (stitched) in a way that prevents aqueous humour from draining too quickly. By draining aqueous humour, the trabeculectomy operation reduces the pressure on the optic nerve and prevents or slows further damage and further loss of vision in glaucoma. Control of the eye pressure with a trabeculectomy will not restore vision already lost from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is often caused by high pressure inside the eye. Trabeculectomy reduces the eye pressure by draining aqueous humour from the eye.
The aqueous humour is a fluid inside the eye which is not related to the tears. Watering of the eye is caused by tears, not aqueous humour.
The aqueous humour that drains through the trabeculectomy accumulates in a reservoir between the sclera and the surface layer of tissue that covers the eyeball (the conjunctiva) to form a small drainage bleb that is usually hidden under the upper eyelid.