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What are the Differences Between Cataracts and Glaucoma

  • Posted on: Jan 31 2022
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Cataracts and glaucoma are two common eye conditions that affect vision. Individuals first notice them as a change in vision, making it harder to see familiar things. Both these conditions can lead to gradual vision loss and eventual blindness if left untreated.

Cataracts cause blurred vision by clouding the eye’s lens. Besides natural aging, injuries and illnesses can also cause it. Meanwhile, glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by damage to the optic nerve, which transmits information from the retina to the brain. Both are leading causes of blindness worldwide.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between these two eye conditions and their symptoms and treatments.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts cause blurred vision due to the clouding of the eye’s lens. It is a natural process of aging and can also be caused by injury or illness.

The lens in the eye focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye. Through optic nerve fibers, light is converted into neural signals that are carried to your brain.

In normal circumstances, the lens is clear as water or glass. However, the lens becomes cloudy when cataracts form. For light to focus on your retina, the lens changes shape, but if it becomes cloudy due to cataracts, it can’t focus light properly and you will have difficulty seeing clearly, especially when you’re in dim light or bright sunlight.

What is Glaucoma?

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma in adults. It results in irreversible blindness around the world. The disease affects approximately 1.9 percent of Americans aged forty or older.

Glaucoma that occurs at an open angle is usually symptomless. In the case of symptoms, they typically appear later with the disease. The primary sign of glaucoma is usually the loss of peripheral vision, which is why it is called the “sneak thief of vision.”

It is a condition that develops slowly over a prolonged period, and if left untreated it can lead to blindness.

How Cataracts and Glaucoma Affect Vision

If left undetected until they become critical, cataracts and glaucoma can cause complete vision loss. Cataracts cloud the lens, causing progressive vision loss. By comparison, glaucoma increases the pressure inside the eyeball. This can damage the optic nerve and cause permanent vision loss.

How Ophthalmologists Treat Cataracts and Glaucoma

Cloudy vision can be caused by cataracts, while glaucoma affects the optic nerve, which sends information about what you see to your brain. These conditions can lead to blindness if untreated. Surgical treatment is usually necessary for cataracts, while eye drops are administered regularly for glaucoma to maintain the eye’s pressure.

Make an Appointment Today

Jason Gilbert, M.D., P.C., has a team of experienced board-certified ophthalmologists who provide excellent care for patients of all ages. Our eye clinic’s ophthalmologists have years of experience diagnosing and treating a variety of eye diseases. Using the latest technology, they can identify serious conditions like cataracts and glaucoma quickly and develop an effective treatment plan. Please call us at 781-381-4325 or visit us online to set up an appointment for your eye examination. We are located at 101 Main St., Suite 208, in Medford, MA 02155.

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