Trabeculectomy: a training dilemma

Eye (Lond). 2007 Feb;21(2):183-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.eye.6702159. Epub 2005 Dec 2.


Aim/purpose: The incidence of trabeculectomy is falling due to more effective medical therapies, resulting in fewer trabeculectomy operations carried out by Ophthalmology trainees. This study audits all primary trabeculectomy procedures performed publicly at the two major teaching hospitals in Brisbane, Australia.

Method: A retrospective consecutive case review analysing the rates and outcomes of Ophthalmology trainee versus consultant trabeculectomies that were performed during the period May 1996-May 2002.

Results: In all, 290 primary trabeculectomies were undertaken during the study period. Ophthalmology trainees performed 95 (33%) of the procedures. This represents a rate of 1.6 trabeculectomy procedures per year per trainee (10 trainees train at the two hospitals per year). Rates of complications postoperatively were similar between the trainee and consultant groups. The percentage of patients achieving an IOP < or =15 mmHg on no medication at their last follow-up was low at 30%.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggests that improvement in trabeculectomy technique is required. In order to acquire skills, wetlab training on artificial or animal eyes may become mandatory within the training programmes, otherwise trabeculectomy will become the realm of sub-specialists with glaucoma fellowship training.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Glaucoma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology
  • Male
  • Medical Audit / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trabeculectomy* / adverse effects
  • Trabeculectomy* / education
  • Trabeculectomy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Fields / physiology