Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive
I was reading your website on everything having to do with glaucoma. I just had trabeculectomy surgery on Tuesday in my right eye only. My question to you is that since I am stuck at home recovering and being extremely careful, would it be harmful to smoke marijuana? I know it doesn't cure glaucoma, but just to relax and take it easy? I have tried finding articles on using it after the surgery just to relax and haven't found any answers. If you could please email me back so that I know whether or not it will ruin the healing process, I would really appreciate it.
Any recovery from eye surgery can be complex. Recovery from glaucoma filtering surgery can be especially complicated depending upon many factors relating to the stage and type of the glaucoma that you have, the medical and other treatments performed before surgery, the nature of the surgery, as well as how your eye heals following surgery. Cannabinoid containing compounds, such as marijuana, have been reported in some individuals to lower the eye pressure and have been used as a treatment for glaucoma. Unfortunately, in most of these studies the pressure reduction was relatively short term, and more and more marijuana is required over time in order to achieve the same effect. Smoking marijuana can also damage the lungs, similar to what can occur with cigarettes.
While the mechanism by which marijuana lowers the eye pressure is not fully understood, it appears to work by reducing the amount of fluid that is made in the eye. Following glaucoma surgery, it is important for the eye to make fluid normally in order to heal properly. Use of marijuana could potentially, therefore, interfere with appropriate healing and increase the risk of the surgery failing. You should talk with your Eye M.D. before taking anything that could affect your eyes following surgery.
Answered by: Louis B. Cantor, MD
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