Cataracts and glaucoma are two different eye diseases. In the vast majority of cases they are not related to one another. Cataracts are a normal aging change of the lens of the eye and will happen to every single person if they live long enough. Because cataracts happen to everyone at some point in their life, cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the world. Glaucoma, on the other hand, does not happen to everyone. It is more common in certain races and also more common as you get older.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cataracts And Glaucoma
Cataracts and glaucoma can both cause blurry vision, but the way in which the blurry vision presents itself is usually very different. In cataracts, the blurry vision is usually noticed by the patient because cataracts tend to affect central vision. Glaucoma, however, usually affects peripheral vision. Because periphery vision is not used as much as central vision, patients may not notice a loss or change in this. This is why visiting an ophthalmologist is so important. An eye doctor can perform visual field testing to formally evaluate a patient’s peripheral vision. So while cataracts and glaucoma can both cause vision loss, the vision loss from cataract is more likely to be noticed earlier by the patient.
Treating Cataracts And Glaucoma
Cataracts and glaucoma are also treated very differently. The only definitive treatment for cataracts is surgery. Because a cataract is an aging change of the natural lens of the eye, the only way to treat it is by removing the natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. This is normally how cataract surgery is performed.
Treating glaucoma may involve surgery, but in the beginning, glaucoma is usually treated with drops or laser. There is no laser and no eye drop that can treat a cataract. Not all glaucoma patients will need surgery, and some may be able to retain good vision just through the use of medications.
Are Glaucoma And Cataracts Related?
In most cases, no, glaucoma and cataracts are not related. However, there is one disease called phacomorphic glaucoma. In this disease, a person’s cataract has become so large that it is causing crowding in the area of the eye’s drainage system. This can then lead to a high eye pressure and glaucoma. Phacomorhic glaucoma is treated by performing cataract surgery to create more room in the eye.
Glaucoma Vs Cataracts: Summary
Glaucoma and cataracts are two different diseases. While they both are more common as a person ages, glaucoma overall is much less common than cataracts. Age related cataracts happen to every single person, provided they live long enough. The only way to treat a cataract is to have surgery for it. Glaucoma is first treated with drops and laser. Surgery for glaucoma is usually done when drops and laser are not working. In the case of phacomorphic glaucoma, taking the cataract out can help the glaucoma to improve.