A pilot study on slit lamp-adapted optical coherence tomography imaging of trabeculectomy filtering blebs

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2007 Jun;245(6):877-82. doi: 10.1007/s00417-006-0476-2. Epub 2006 Nov 22.


Background: Our study aims to identify anatomical characteristics of glaucoma filtering blebs by means of slit lamp-adapted optical coherence tomography (SL-OCT) and to identify new parameters for the functional prognosis of the filter in the early post-operative period.

Methods: Patients with primary open-angle glaucoma, aged 18 years and older, scheduled for primary trabeculectomy at the Department of Ophthalmology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, were considered for our study. All patients underwent standardized trabeculectomy with intra-operative application of mitomycin C. The filtering blebs were evaluated clinically and with SL-OCT on day 1 and 1, 2, 4 and 12 weeks following surgery. The resulting data were analysed and weighed against surgical success. To better understand the SL-OCT data a small comparative histologic study was performed.

Results: The study included 20 eyes of 20 patients. After completion of our study, 15 eyes of 15 patients (mean age+/-SD 67 +/- 16 years) were eligible for data analysis and 5 eyes missed at least one follow-up visit. Filtering surgery was considered successful (intraocular pressure < or = 21 mmHg without antiglaucomatous medication) in 11 of 15 eyes. SL-OCT frequently demonstrated multiple hypo-reflective layers within Tenon's capsule ("striping" phenomenon) in the first post-operative week. Presumably, these layers corresponded with drainage channels in the histological specimen. These channels were present in functional filters but not in the failures. In addition, the visualisation of the sclera below the filtering zone was better defined in failures compared with successful filtering blebs ("shading" phenomenon). We observed no differences in the volume and clinical aspect of the blebs in the successful group compared with the unsuccessful group.

Conclusions: Successful filtering blebs show characteristic optical properties on SL-OCT. These phenomena suggest a diffusely enhanced fluid content and the presence of intra-bleb drainage channels in functional filtering blebs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alkylating Agents / administration & dosage
  • Aqueous Humor / metabolism
  • Blister / diagnosis*
  • Blister / metabolism
  • Conjunctiva / metabolism
  • Conjunctiva / pathology*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological / instrumentation
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Trabeculectomy*


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Mitomycin