Background: Various risk factors for failure of glaucoma filtering surgery, including young age, have been suggested.
Methods: A retrospective study of 113 trabeculectomies in 113 patients, ranging in age between 11 and 49 years (mean, 33.3 +/- 10.5 years), was carried out to determine the influence of these risk factors in young patients.
Results: A successful outcome (intraocular pressure [IOP] < or = 21 mmHg without antiglaucoma treatment), assessed by life-table analysis, was achieved in 54% of trabeculectomies after 38 months (mean follow-up, 36.7 +/- 29.7 months). Previous ocular surgery (e.g., glaucoma filtering, cataract, or conjunctival surgery) and previous laser therapy (i.e., argon laser trabeculoplasty and YAG laser iridotomy) both significantly reduced the success rate. An IOP greater than 40 mmHg during the course of the disease was found to adversely affect the outcome. No direct correlation between success rate and age and no racial difference were demonstrated. Success rates for specific diagnoses were not significantly different. Postoperative subconjunctival injections of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) did not significantly improve the success rate. A Cox regression analysis of various prognostic variables identified previous cataract surgery (hazard ratio, 4.4), argon laser trabeculoplasty (hazard ratio, 3.4), previous glaucoma filtering surgery (hazard ratio, 2.5), nonfiltering glaucoma surgery (hazard ratio, 2.2) and IOP greater than 40 mmHg (hazard ratio, 2.4) to be the major risk factors for glaucoma filtering surgery failure.
Conclusion: A majority (74%) of the patients in our series had at least one of these risk factors, thus explaining why young patients, in general, have lower success rates for trabeculectomy.