Suffering from cataracts or glaucoma may be part of the natural aging process. Thus, many people over 60 years can suffer both diseases. Although they are not related pathologies, they are serious and can cause the loss of vision. In the case of cataracts the loss of vision can be reversed with surgery. In contrast, loss of vision due to glaucoma is irreversible, although its progress can be stopped if caught early.
There is a greater percentage of people with glaucoma who are at greater risk of developing cataracts.
When is cataract surgery performed?
Cataract surgery is performed when the patient's vision is reduced to the point where it interferes with their daily tasks, either because of decreased quantity or quality of vision. In most cases of cataract surgery, the opaque lens is removed and replaced with a clear lens through the implant of an intraocular lens (IOL).
Can cataract and glaucoma surgery be performed at the same time?
During cataract surgery, a change in eye pressure may occur. It is now accepted that the increase in the thickness of the crystalline lens produced as the cataract progresses can cause a reduction of the space in the anterior chamber of the eye, resulting in an increase in intraocular pressure.
When the lens is removed during cataract surgery, a new space is developed that allows intraocular pressure to be normalized in 60% of cases. In this way, it is not necessary to operate the glaucoma.
Ophthalmology specialists advise patients suffering from cataracts and glaucoma to first undergo cataract surgery to study subsequently a new change in intraocular pressure. If this reduces the patient will save the operation of glaucoma, which carries a higher risk index than the first.
What exactly is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is also called removal of the lens. It can be performed by the technique of ultrasonic laser phacoemulsification. The intraocular lens is implanted on an own surface of the eye, the posterior capsule. In some patients this capsule may become opaque, decreasing the quality of vision. Therefore, the laser procedure, called capsulotomy, can be performed, which removes the capsule and restores the quality of vision without the need for cuts in the eye.
Patients with any of these conditions should contact their ophthalmologist to inform them of possible treatment options, as well as medication, laser treatment or recommended surgery.