Can I Have Cataract Surgery If I Have Glaucoma?

A close-up of an eye doctor's hand holding a device up to a patient's eye. The patient has a sheet over their face exposing the eye only.

Glaucoma is a condition caused by fluid pressure inside the eye – intraocular pressure – that can damage the optic nerve, leading to partial or total vision loss. It is possible for the individual living with glaucoma to also develop cataracts (or the loss of transparency or clouding of the eye lens). When these two eye conditions happen concurrently, vision is dramatically impaired. 

People will often ask if it is possible to have cataract surgery while living with glaucoma. The short answer is yes

The Benefits of Cataract Surgery 

Cataract surgery, simply explained, involves removing the eye’s natural lens that has become cloudy and replacing it with a clear lens. Most of the new lens implants are simply a clear lens, but there are options for custom near-sighted or far-sighted lens replacements, which may completely eliminate the need to wear glasses or contacts.

Cataract surgery removes blurriness from vision, and many patients report that it also improves the vividness of colors. However, one of the additional benefits of having cataract surgery is that it may also improve some of the symptoms of glaucoma.

One long-term improvement that cataract surgery may give to patients with glaucoma is decreased intraocular eye pressure. However, it is equally likely that there will be an elevation in intraocular eye pressure immediately after cataract surgery—because the procedure can temporarily increase intraocular eye pressure even in patients who don’t have glaucoma.

Therefore, it’s important for glaucoma patients to carefully follow their ophthalmologist’s instructions for using glaucoma medications before and after cataract surgery and to attend all scheduled follow-up appointments after the surgery.

Improvements in Relation to Glaucoma 

Other improvements that patients with glaucoma may experience after having cataract surgery include a reduction in the number of glaucoma medications they need or, in some cases, the elimination of the need for any glaucoma medications. 

However, glaucoma patients should be careful not to just assume that their intraocular eye pressure will be permanently lowered or that they can use less or none of the medications that treat their condition. Regular ophthalmic visits can ensure that total eye health is being accurately monitored and treated appropriately.

If patients who have glaucoma and cataracts want to ensure that both conditions are treated surgically at the same time, it may be possible for the ophthalmologist to do a minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery, known as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), to relieve intraocular eye pressure at the same time as the cataract surgery. 

Contact Florida Eye Specialists Today

If you have glaucoma and cataracts, you can discuss your options with experienced and knowledgeable eye surgeons at Florida Eye Specialists to see how we can help improve your vision and your life. We have eight convenient locations in the Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Palatka areas.\

Florida Eye Specialists has been voted the best eye care practice for four years in a row and is the largest glaucoma practice in the region. The moment you experience any changes to your vision is the exact moment to contact Florida Eye Specialists for a consultation. We accept many national insurance carriers, including Medicare, and we offer affordable financing options.

Are you ready to see clearly now? Call Florida Eye Specialists at (904) 564-2020 or book an appointment online today.