Glaucoma surgery

World Glaucoma Week runs from 6 – 12 March and is about raising awareness of the importance of catching the disease early. Unlike cataracts that can be reversed with surgery, glaucoma can cause irreversible sight loss.

It is possible for cataracts and glaucoma to co-exist. But patients that experience these together require special considerations. While treating both conditions at the same time can be highly successful, there are increased risks that need to be considered.

Here, we will look at the special considerations patients with cataracts and glaucoma require.

Combining cataract and glaucoma surgery

Cataract and glaucoma surgeries can be combined in some cases to treat both conditions at once. Patients who are undergoing a cataract procedure can also undergo several types of glaucoma surgery. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Trabeculectomy
  • Endocyclophotocoagulation
  • MIGS (Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgeries)

MIGS tend to be the most common procedure combined with cataract surgery. This is because they can be performed through the same incision site. The only downside with this is that the majority of MIGS procedures rely on the natural drainage system of the eye. This means they may not be able to reduce eye pressure as much as trabeculectomy.

When searching for the right surgical combination, your age, the stage of glaucoma, and general health will be considered. It is also worth noting that in some cases, cataract surgery by itself can help to treat both conditions. For patients with ocular hypertension, or mild open-angle glaucoma, cataract surgery can reduce the need for glaucoma surgery.

What are the risks of cataract surgery in glaucoma patients?

Patients with glaucoma who undergo cataract surgery do have specific risk factors they need to be aware of. Those who have pseudoexfoliation glaucoma are at the highest risk of developing complications. These patients have weaknesses within the natural structure of the lens which leads to an increased risk of complications.

Certain types of new intraocular lenses can also cause issues due to glare, or reduced contrast sensitivity. Those who have underlying glaucoma are at greater risk of pressure spikes within the eye after undergoing cataract surgery. A transient rise in eye pressure can also cause glaucoma patients to experience damage to the optic nerve.

These are some of the main risks associated with cataract and glaucoma surgeries combined.

Determining the right treatment for you

If you have cataracts and glaucoma, Mr Shalchi will be able to determine which treatment option is right for you. While a combined surgical approach could prove effective, in many cases single cataract surgery is the best option. Single procedures produce fewer risks, but they may not be effective in some patients.

To determine which type of treatment method is right for you, book a consultation with Mr Zaid Shalchi today. He will talk through your options, alongside any potential risk factors you need to be aware of.