Filtering blebs imaging by optical coherence tomography

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2005 Oct;33(5):483-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2005.01066.x.


Purpose: To assess the ability of standard optical coherence tomography to visualize filtering blebs after glaucoma surgery.

Methods: A prospective interventional case series was conducted in a private practice. Twenty-nine eyes of 24 patients (21 with good, 2 with fair and 6 with poor intraocular pressure [IOP] control) were investigated. After the focus was manually adjusted on the conjunctiva, blebs were scanned perpendicularly to the limbus.

Results: Hyporeflective fluid-filled spaces were detected in 19 out of the 21 eyes with good IOP. Within this group, blebs were classified into three different categories according to their optical coherence tomography pattern: type A (featuring a thick wall and a single large fluid-filled space), type B (featuring a thin wall and multiple large fluid-filled spaces) and type C (featuring multiple, irregular and flattened fluid-filled spaces). Fluid-filled spaces were not observed in three out of the six eyes with poor IOP control. Trabeculectomy without antimetabolites was associated with type A blebs (P = 0.015, Fisher's exact test), mitomycin-C trabeculectomy with type B blebs (P = 0.0025) and mitomycin-C phacotrabeculectomy with type C blebs (P = 0.0173).

Conclusions: Although it was not developed to evaluate the anterior segment of the eye, standard optical coherence tomography can visualize filtering blebs and reveal interesting details of their morphology. Clinicians using optical coherence tomography to diagnose glaucoma can take advantage of this ability of the instrument to obtain more information about their patients in the postoperative course of trabeculectomy and phacotrabeculectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antimetabolites / therapeutic use
  • Blister / diagnostic imaging*
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Conjunctiva / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological*
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / drug therapy
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Trabeculectomy*
  • Ultrasonography


  • Antimetabolites
  • Mitomycin
  • Fluorouracil