Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
I have primary open-angle glaucoma and I had a trabeculectomy in January. I wondered if it's safe to do weight lifting exercises and to wear SoftLens disposable lenses now.       

Answer:
Most exercise is fine after a trabeculectomy, once your vision has recovered. You must be very careful to protect your eyes with safety glasses for sports or tool usage—specially gardening (avoiding branches), playing racquetball, tennis, squash, and baseball, and using power tools.

Swimming is not recommended after a trabeculotomy. It is best to avoid getting any water in your eyes while showering or bathing to avoid the normally harmless bacteria (which normally is in the water we drink and bathe in) from infecting your eyes.

The bad news: you should not wear soft contacts after a trabeculectomy. Soft lenses increase the risk of infection inside the eye after trabeculectomy by a factor of four, and the results of the infection inside the eye can be devastating. Soft lenses can irritate or rupture the filtration "bleb" that is created during the trabeculotomy procedure. This can cause infection which can lead to loss of vision, loss of the anti-glaucoma function through scarring, or even loss of your eye from endophthalmitis or internal infection of the eye. 

If you can't get adequate vision with glasses, your Eye M.D. might, in some cases, fit you with rigid gas permeable contacts—but check first with your glaucoma specialist.

Answered by: Anne Sumers, MD Dr. Anne Sumers 

Categories: Glaucoma, Vision Correction, Eye Surgery

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Answered: Oct 02, 2012

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