Background: Trabeculectomy remains the mainstay of therapy for advanced glaucoma in Nigeria due to the unavailability and expense of topical therapy. Little is known of the medium- to long-term outcomes of trabeculectomy in West Africa. Purpose To retrospectively assess outcomes, in terms of lowering of the intraocular pressure and preserving the visual acuity, and the safety of trabeculectomy in patients with advanced glaucoma in Nigeria.
Methods: A retrospective case-note search was carried out from operating theatre records in a private hospital at Lagos, Nigeria from 1989 to 1997. Patients undergoing primary trabeculectomy with a minimum follow-up of 6 months were included in the study. Visiting consultants and registrars from the UK performed the surgery. Descriptive statistics and life-table analysis were applied to the data.
Results: One hundred and forty-two eyes of 100 patients were included in the study. When the criteria for success were an intraocular pressure (IOP) of less than 22 mmHg, 30% reduction from pre-operative levels and a decrease in visual acuity of less than 3 Snellen chart lines, then by life-table analysis success rates were 85%, 82% and 71% at the 1, 2 and 5 year post-operative intervals respectively. Success rates were lower if an IOP of less than 16 mmHg was taken as one of the criteria (65%, 61% and 46% at the 1, 2 and 5 year intervals, respectively).
Conclusions: Trabeculectomy without antimetabolite use appears to be an effective way to lower the IOP of advanced glaucoma patients in Nigeria to less than 22 mmHg but not to less than 16 mmHg. The procedure, in experienced hands, is relatively safe with few major complications.