The Difference Between Glaucoma & Cataracts
- Posted on: Oct 1 2019
While both glaucoma and cataracts are degenerative (progressive) eye conditions that can cause permanent vision loss, the two are completely different. Dr. Frank Burns proudly provides the diagnosis and treatment of both these conditions, and we will further explore the differences.
Glaucoma is a disease which damages the optic nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain. This damage is usually always due to ocular hypertension, or increased pressure in the eyes. Glaucoma is often first noticed to affect the peripheral vision, or side vision, and gradually worsens. While glaucoma is usually associated with old age, the condition can present in babies and children as congenital glaucoma. The two main forms of this disease are open-angle and narrow-angle glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma. The most common of the two is open-angle, meaning the angle between the iris and the cornea is wide and fluid passes slowly through the drainage canal, causing a gradual clogging.
Narrow-angle glaucoma on the other hand, has a narrow angle between the iris and the cornea and the fluid passes quickly through the drainage canal, causing a sudden blockage. Cataracts are also an age-related condition, but it effects the vision by the clouding of the eye’s lens leading to blurring and eventual vision loss. 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. However, cataracts can also be congenital (present at birth), or they can occur after eye injury or they can be caused by other diseases. Cataracts are usually noticed when there is difficulty seeing objects in the distance, and when night vision is affected due to glare and halos around lights.
When it comes to treatment, the vision damage caused by glaucoma is sadly 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 medicated eye drops or a procedure called a laser trabeculoplasty which creates tiny holes in the drainage canal. Middletown Eye Care is proud to offer patients iStent, a tiny medical device that is implanted in the eye to permanently lower eye pressure.
Cataracts on the other hand are treatable whenever they substantially affect the vision and everyday activities. Cataract surgery involves breaking up the clouded lens via phacoemulsification and replacing it with either a monofocal lens or a premium IOL that may reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses. Middletown Eye Care offers some of the newest technologies available, including the RESTOR, Tecnis Multifocal, and Symfony lens to restore both near and far vision.