Conditions that affect your eyesight are very concerning. However, unless you or a loved one has been diagnosed, then you’re probably not very familiar with the different types. Sure, you might know that cataracts and glaucoma can have serious effects on vision, but what’s the difference between the two?
The following is a definitive guide as to their difference—plus an overview of treatment for each.
Cataracts vs. Glaucoma: an easy-to-follow guide
- What are cataracts?
- What is glaucoma?
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are generally an age-related condition that causes a very gradual decline in eyesight. They occur in both eyes, but usually at different rates. They develop because of proteins within the jelly of the eye that clump together and settle on the lens of the eye. Over time, this disrupts the natural flow of light through the eye. If allowed to evolve without intervention, they’ll eventually cause complete loss of sight.
While this sounds alarming, rest assured that there is a simple treatment for cataracts that we’ll discuss more in a moment.
What is glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure within the eye rises. This is usually caused by fluid building up within the eye, causing pressure on the optic nerve—the route that light travels from the eye to the brain. Again, if left untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness.
There are a variety of treatments for glaucoma, all of which are designed to bring the pressure within the eye/s back to normal levels.
One thing that cataracts and glaucoma have in common is that, normally and in the early stages, they don’t have any symptoms. They also both tend to affect people as they age, with visual signs usually becoming apparent aged 70 and beyond.
Cataracts vs. Glaucoma: the treatment differences
- How cataracts are treated
- How glaucoma is treated
How cataracts are treated
Cataracts are treated with a simple surgery that has a virtually 100% success rate. It’s a painless, quick procedure that breaks down the diseased lens and replaces it with an artificial one.
The surgery is carried out in the doctor’s office under local anesthetic. It takes around 15 minutes, and you return home the same day. Recovery takes around 8 weeks, and you’ll find your vision is very much improved—in some cases and depending on the type of artificial lens you have, you won’t even need eyeglasses afterward.
How glaucoma is treated
There are different types of glaucoma and how it’s treated will depend on your diagnosis. As already mentioned, this is designed to reduce the pressure within the eye, and can be done through:
- Eye drops
- Laser treatment, that can open up any blocked drainage tubes and/or reduce any excessive fluid production within the eye
- Surgery that’s also designed to improve the eye drainage
It’s vital that glaucoma is monitored and treated at the earliest opportunity. This is because any vision loss cannot be reversed, so it’s critical for an early diagnosis and intervention.
Both cataracts and glaucoma are common conditions related to age. By far the best way to reduce the risk of sight loss from either is to have regular eye examinations throughout your life. Depending on your age, these should be anything from 6 monthly to every couple of years. Your ophthalmologist will advise which best applies to you.
Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Other Eye Conditions: Get the Ultimate Care at the WBEC
The West Boca Eye Center is a leading academic-grade facility in South Florida that provides world-beating care for every type of eye condition. This includes advanced laser cataract surgery, cutting-edge glaucoma treatment, laser vision correction, diabetic eye care, emergency treatment, routine eye care, and more.
Don’t leave your precious eyesight to chance. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a condition, are worried that you might be genetically disposed, fancy finding out if you’re suitable for laser vision correction, or simply want incredible eye checks and vision care, then give us a call.
Head to https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/ to find out more!