PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a novel surgical approach, ab interno trabeculectomy, in a combined procedure (clear corneal phacoemulsification + ab interno trabeculectomy) for the management of concurrent cataract and glaucoma with prognostic factors for filtration failure. SETTING: Department of Ophthalmology, Palmanova Hospital, Udine, Italy. METHODS: A prospective noncomparative case series of 11 eyes of 11 consecutive cataract patients with medically uncontrolled primary open-angle glaucoma or pseudoexfoliation glaucoma was performed. Each patient had phacoemulsification + intraocular lens implantation + ab interno trabeculectomy, which consisted of a gonioscopically controlled ab interno removal of a quadrant (3 clock hours) of the trabecular meshwork. The main outcome measures were intraocular pressure (IOP), the number of antiglaucomatous medications used, and complications. RESULTS: Ten patients completed a 3-year follow-up. One patient had further surgery because of poor IOP control; in this case, the last valid observation was carried forward for IOP calculation. Mean preoperative IOP and IOPs measured 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months after surgery were 25.0, 15.8, 15.4, 15.4, 15.2, 15.0, and 15.3 (-38.56%) mm Hg respectively. The number of medications averaged 2.4 before surgery and dropped to 0.8 at the end of follow-up. No major complications occurred during the follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: The new surgical procedure combining phacoemulsification with ab interno trabeculectomy can induce a clinically relevant decrease in IOP in eyes with cataract and glaucoma with poor prognosis for filtering surgery. However, a randomized controlled clinical trial with a more extended follow-up and a larger series of patients is needed to ascertain the actual effectiveness and safety of this procedure.
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