Goniotomy for glaucoma

Surgery Overview

Goniotomy is a surgical procedure in which the doctor uses a lens called a goniolens to see the structures of the front part of the eye (anterior chamber). An opening is made in the trabecular meshwork, the group of tiny canals located in the drainage angle, where fluid leaves the eye. The new opening provides a way for fluid to flow out of the eye. Goniotomy is a surgery for children only.

What To Expect After Surgery

Babies who have goniotomy for glaucoma need to be watched carefully after surgery to make sure their glaucoma is controlled. The pressure in their eyes needs to be measured frequently.

Why It Is Done

Goniotomy is used to treat congenital glaucoma if the clear covering (cornea) over the iris, the colored part of the eye, is not cloudy.

How Well It Works

Goniotomy can successfully treat congenital glaucoma 80% to 90% of the time when symptoms start when the child is 1 month to 2 years old. Goniotomy is not as successful in children whose glaucoma was present at birth or began late in childhood.1


The greatest complication after goniotomy is a return of high pressure in the eyes. If pressure in the eye increases, the procedure may need to be repeated.

What To Think About

Goniotomy has to be repeated in about 50% of the eyes of children who have the procedure.1

Medications may still be needed after goniotomy to control pressure in the eyes.

Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.



  1. Kipp MA (2003). Childhood glaucoma. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 50(1): 89–104.

Last Updated: May 23, 2008

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