Although they can occur at any age, glaucoma and cataracts are most prevalent in older adults. Due to recent advancements in technology, eye doctors can treat glaucoma and cataracts in one surgery.
Cataracts develop when proteins break down and clump together on your eye’s natural lens. When these proteins clump together, it causes the lens to become inflexible and cloudy.
Signs that indicate it could be time to have cataract surgery include:
- Blurred vision
- Contacts or glasses no longer help
- Starburst or haloes around lights
- Difficulty with nighttime driving
- Glare around light sources
The only way to treat vision loss associated with cataracts is cataract surgery. Cataract surgery can restore your vision and will not come back once removed.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve due to abnormally high eye pressure, also known as intraocular pressure or IOP. In most cases, glaucoma doesn’t have symptoms in the early stages.
The eye condition progresses gradually, and you might not notice any change in your eyesight until it’s at an advanced stage. Although anyone can have glaucoma, the following increases your risk for the eye disease:
- Being age sixty and older
- High blood pressure
- Eye trauma
- A family history of glaucoma
- Being Asian, African American, or Hispanic
- Long-term use of steroid medications
Although vision obstructed by cataracts can be reversed with surgery, vision loss due to glaucoma is permanent. When glaucoma can’t be controlled effectively with medications and cataracts make it difficult to see, your eye doctor may recommend a different type of treatment.
MIGS and cataract surgery, which combine cataract and glaucoma treatments, can prevent further vision loss.
MIGS And Cataract Surgery
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery or MIGS is a group of procedures for patients who need glaucoma and cataract treatment. MIGS provides an effective and safe solution that bridges the gap between glaucoma medication and invasive surgery.
It enables eye doctors to address cataracts and mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma. Eye doctors can address both of these eye conditions by combining cataract surgery and the implantation of a MIGS device.
One common type of MIGS device is the iStent. During the iStent procedure, your surgeon will insert the iStent into your eye’s drainage channel.
The iStent keeps the closed or blocked drainage networks open, allowing fluid to drain from your eye quickly. When the fluid can drain easier, the intraocular pressure will decrease.
Less pressure helps delay or stop further damage to the optic nerve. It also halts or slows vision loss due to glaucoma.
Your eye surgeon can implant the iStent through the tiny incision created during cataract removal. MIGS only adds a couple of minutes to the total surgery time.
By having glaucoma and cataract surgery together, you’re treating both conditions with less strain on your system. Less stress on your system during recovery enables a faster recovery.
Further, the iStent preserves your ocular tissues. This makes it possible to have future treatment options to maintain long-term vision.
Benefits Of Combined Cataract And Glaucoma Treatment
There are many benefits of combined cataract and glaucoma surgery. Some advantages of combined surgery include:
Instead of having two separate surgeries, combining the two reduces the risk of complications.
Stabilizes Eye Pressure
The primary goal of any glaucoma procedure is to decrease intraocular pressure. When you have cataract surgery combined with glaucoma surgery, you can experience the benefits of both without having two separate procedures.
Helps Stop Medication
If you have side effects from medications or glaucoma has progressed to a moderate stage, surgery can reduce or eliminate the need for medications. Glaucoma can also ensure that the pressure well-managed.
Protects Against Vision Loss
When your eye pressure is out of control, it increases your risk for irreversible vision loss. Together, glaucoma and cataract surgery can provide clear vision and preserve your sight.
Having two surgeries done at the same time is less costly. Glaucoma surgery can also save you money since it decreases or stops your need for glaucoma medication.
MIGS Vs. Traditional Glaucoma Surgery
When someone is first diagnosed with glaucoma, eye doctors will likely prescribe drops as the first line of treatment. If the eye condition progresses and doesn’t respond to medication, your eye doctor may suggest traditional surgery.
However, traditional glaucoma surgeries are more invasive. These procedures require making extensive incisions into the wall of your eye.
Even though they’re effective in bringing your intraocular pressure down, they have longer recovery times and a lot of possible complications. On the other hand, MIGS is more effective than medication and less invasive than traditional surgery.
Your eye doctor can perform the MIGS procedure using microsurgical techniques and equipment to minimize your risk of having an extended or complicated recovery. Beyond lowering your eye pressure and slowing or halting optic nerve damage, MIGS has a high safety profile.
It’s also less traumatic to your eye tissue and preserves the integrity of your eye better than traditional surgery. If your vision is affected by cataracts and medications aren’t effective in controlling your eye pressure, MIGS and cataract surgery can help.
Do you want to learn if you’re a candidate for a combined glaucoma and cataract surgery? Schedule a consultation at Joshi Eye Institute in Boynton Beach, FL, today!