Is glaucoma associated with cataract

Cataract is an opacity in the lens or its capsule that normally occurs with aging, and it may eventually lead to visual impairment. Glaucoma and cataract can both co-exist in the same eye. Visually impairing cataracts are treated by surgery, which will remove the opaque lens and replace it with an artificial lens. If there are no other abnormalities, vision is fully recovered after surgery.

Patients with glaucoma should undergo a comprehensive individualized assessment to determine the best surgical strategy. Advanced glaucoma or IOP poorly controlled by medical/laser treatment should be evaluated for combined glaucoma/cataract surgery.

Of note, glaucoma can occur secondary to abnormalities of the lens, such as dislocated or subluxated lens from its normal position (Phacotopic glaucoma); when lens becomes opaque and swells up (Phacomorphic glaucoma); when the cataract has become mature there can also be micro leaks from the capsule of lens and this can induce glaucoma by inflammation or lens protein deposition in trabecular meshwork (phacolytic and lens protein induced glaucoma).

The presence of a large lens in a small crowded eye, or a more anteriorly located lens may represent relevant mechanisms for primary angle closure.

Is glaucoma associated with cataract Fig. 1

Fig. 1. Cataract – opacity of the lens.

Is glaucoma associated with cataract Fig. 2

Fig. 2. Left photo: Clear lens in patient with aniridia (no iris); Middle photo: Cataract –nuclear and cortical cataract; Right photo: total cataract with subluxated lens.

World Glaucoma Association

Important message for glaucoma patients

It is important for you to get yourself regularly screened for glaucoma. If you have been diagnosed to have glaucoma, effective treatment options are now available and regular treatment and follow up can help you to preserve your vision for your lifetime, avoiding unnecessary fear of going blind.

You can live happily with glaucoma and enjoy an excellent quality of life, particularly if the disease is detected early and treated in time. Always remember that once you have glaucoma, you will have to be under the care of an eye doctor for the rest of your life.

There is a lot of research going on and new treatments may become available for glaucoma in the near future.

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