Q: What Is The Difference Between Cataracts And Glaucoma?
While glaucoma and cataracts are both degenerative eye conditions, they are completely different! By the age of 80, nearly half of the United States experience cataracts, while approximately 2 million people living in America have glaucoma. At San Antonio Eye Specialists, our team of doctors diagnose and manage both glaucoma and cataracts, often at the same time, which we’ll discuss later in this blog.
Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain becomes damaged. This damage is typically due to ocular hypertension, or high eye pressure. However, it is also possible for glaucoma to occur even with a normal eye pressure. Glaucoma is usually first noticed when it affects the peripheral vision and it gradually worsens.
Cataracts are also an age-related condition, but cataracts affect the vision by clouding the eye’s lens. When we age, the lens becomes thicker and less flexible and the tissues begin to break down and become clouded. This clouding causes the light to become scattered as it passes through, resulting in blurred vision.
When it comes to treatment, the vision damage caused by glaucoma is unfortunately irreversible. The goal is to reduce the pressure in the eyes in order to further prevent vision damage from progressing. This is typically done through the use of special medicated eye drops that must be instilled frequently under a strict dosage schedule. Cataracts, on the other hand, are treatable whenever they substantially affect the vision and everyday activities. Cataract surgery involves replacing the clouded lens with either a monofocal lens, or a premium IOL (Intraocular Lens) that may reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses. Our practice offers laser cataract surgery, which makes cataract removable more precise, more predictable and better than ever before. With premium IOLs such as the PanOptix trifocal lens or Symfony IOL, patients can reduce or eliminate their need for glasses after cataract surgery.
At San Antonio Eye Specialists, we offer surgical implants called minimally invasive glaucoma surgery or MIGS for short. These devices such as the iStent Inject are FDA approved to be implanted during cataract surgery, reducing eye pressure. These devices treat open angle glaucoma, allowing many patients to stop their glaucoma drops completely or reduce the amount of drops they must use on a daily basis.
To learn more about MIGS or cataract surgery, contact San Antonio Eye Specialists today!