Glaucoma vs cataracts

Aging comes at a price and eyes are no exception. The natural aging process puts us at risk of several eye diseases, even if we have never had poor vision or symptoms of eye problems.
Which is the effect of Glaucoma vs Cataracts is a question that is often listened when talking about blindness and the truth is that both illnesses affect the health of our vision overtime. In this article we help you to learn more about these conditions and how to deal with them.

Glaucoma vs Cataracts And Who Is At Risk

People with glaucoma, in general, do not  have an increased risk of developing cataracts. The exceptions are persons who suffer a glaucoma because they have had other complications like eye trauma, inflammation of the eye, ocular sarcoidosis or use of steroids. Those who have suffered from diseases such as congenital rubella, which can cause glaucoma, cataracts, and sometimes both, are also at greater risk. Both eye diseases are also more frequent with age, which is why patients suffering from one disease can also suffer from the other.

Cataracts And How To Prevent Them

Think for a moment when the eye is like a window through which we can see the world, which must be completely clean in order to see everything on the other side. The same happens with our eyes, the light enters through the front of the eye and must reach the back (retina) so that we can see well, clearly. We call this crystal of the eye crystalline and it works like a lens to see things better. If the lens is stained or opaque by the accumulation of certain substances, spots are formed that do not allow light to pass completely to the retina and we see how through a fogged window or as if we had a cloud inside the eye.

Although aging is the main risk factor for developing cataract, it is important to know that other circumstances may make you more likely to develop this disease, such as diabetes, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, prolonged use of medications (such as steroids), among other. Having these diseases controlled and changing our lifestyle to acquire healthier habits are important actions that can help us reduce the risk of developing cataract.

Healthy Lifestyle

 Cataracts vs Glaucoma And Vision loss Restoration

Cataract surgery is suggested when a person’s vision has been reduced to the point that this interferes with their usual daily tasks, due to the decrease in quantity or quality of vision.

Unlike vision loss due to glaucoma, vision loss due to cataracts can almost always be recovered. In most cases of cataract surgery, the opaque lens is removed and replaced with a transparent lens, by implanting an intraocular lens (IOL). The cataract removal procedure is called phacoemulsification.

Although glaucoma and cataract are different diseases, they share some characteristics, such as the increased risk from 40 years of age and the importance of diagnosing them in time to avoid blindness, so it is crucial that you go to periodic reviews with the ophthalmologist

Glaucoma And How To Prevent It

Glaucoma is a disease that is characterized by damage to the optic nerve, which is the nerve that connects the eye to the brain and sends all the information we see. The main cause of this damage is ocular hypertension, that is, the increase in pressure inside the eye. However, we can suffer from glaucoma even if we have a normal pressure inside the eye or we can have ocular hypertension and not have damage to the optic nerve, so it is important to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist to know if we suffer from this disease and what is your type or cause .

Cataracts Surgery And Glaucoma

Cataract surgery can cause a change in eye pressure. Today it is accepted that the increase in the thickness of the lens that occurs as the cataract progresses can cause a decrease in the space in the anterior chamber of the eye and, hence, glaucoma originates.

With the extraction of the lens in the cataract operation a new “empty” space is developed that, in a large part of the cases (approximately 60%) allows the intraocular pressure to be normalized, making, in such cases, it is not necessary get to operate from glaucoma.

Therefore, in patients suffering from cataracts and glaucoma, specialists usually first recommend the operation of cataracts and then study again the progress of ocular pressure. If this is reduced,  the patient doesn’t need to undergo under a glaucoma operation, which has a higher risk index than the cataracts surgery.

Surgery Advice

Can I Have Cataracts And Glaucoma At The  Same Time?

Unfortunately, yes, and when both degenerative diseases of the eyes are suffered, glaucoma must be controlled first. A procedure for glaucoma can be performed before cataract surgery or at the same time with glaucoma surgery.

It should be noted that cataract surgery can cause changes in the internal pressure of the eye and increase or decrease the condition of glaucoma in the short term or permanently and it is not possible to predict the result.

Also, glaucoma medications such as adrenergic agonists (adrenaline or dipivephrine), may increase glare in those suffering from cataracts, by dilating the pupil when expose  to a greater amount of light.

Cataract vision may also worsen with the use of drops (for glaucoma), such as pilocarpine and carbacol, as they contract the pupil, which decreases the light entering the eyes.


In summary we can say that since cataracts is a condition that provokes an opacity in the lens of the eye that makes vision difficult.  It is an eye aging  effect that is better treated with surgery. There are factors apart from age, that can anticipate the appearance of cataracts. An injury, a blow, and any burn caused by extreme heat are factors that could damage the lens of the eye provoking a cataract.

The result of the effect between glaucoma vs cataracts are not reciprocal and both conditions are independent, but of course any illness that affect the eye will have a repercussion in the health of the patient vision.

In addition, as we have explained before, both diseases are not related but they are serious pathologies that can cause vision loss. This loss of vision due to cataracts can be reversed by surgery, but loss of vision due to glaucoma is irreversible although progress can be halted.