call us now!
Chevy Chase, MD Silver Spring, MD Washington, DC

What If You Have Cataracts And Glaucoma?

Did you know you can have cataracts and glaucoma at the same time? If this happens, it’s important to see an eye doctor with experience treating both disorders.

Depending on the severity of your glaucoma or cataracts, you may need surgery to treat them. Keep reading to learn about these conditions and when it’s right to have combined glaucoma and cataract surgery!

What are Cataracts?

A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. This is a process that happens naturally as a result of aging.

As we age, proteins inside of the lens begin to break down. In a healthy eye, these proteins are arranged in a very precise manner. This allows light to pass through them uninterrupted. When this pattern gets disrupted, light can no longer pass through.

Cataract development is usually a slow, gradual process. In its early stages, you will likely not even notice vision loss, but over time, you may notice symptoms like blurry vision, fading colors, double vision, glare, and difficulty seeing at night.

Recent innovations in technology have transformed cataract surgery into a very safe and effective treatment.

What is Glaucoma?

Like cataracts, glaucoma is also a slowly progressing condition that causes blindness. This is where the similarities between glaucoma and cataracts end. Unlike cataracts, glaucoma does not affect the lens, but rather the eye’s optic nerve.

There is a semi-complex system inside the eye. In this system, fluid-carrying nutrients are produced and are then allowed to drain out through a specific meshwork. If this meshwork becomes clogged or blocked, the pressure inside of the eye can begin to build up. As the pressure builds, it begins to damage the sensitive optic nerve.

The optic nerve handles carrying information from the eye to the brain. Any vision loss due to its damage is permanent. That means that if you lose vision because of glaucoma, it’s irreversible.

Glaucoma also has no noticeable symptoms until you’ve already lost vision. This is what makes frequent eye exams so important!

The only way to diagnose and treat glaucoma early on is with the help of an eye care professional. Treatment options include prescription eye drops and glaucoma surgery.

Why You Should or Shouldn’t Combine Surgeries

Surgery for glaucoma is not always necessary. In most cases, patients with glaucoma can manage their eye pressure using eye drops. If eye drops don’t help, or your eye pressure levels continue rising, surgery becomes necessary.

If you have cataracts and glaucoma, it may be possible to remove your cataract at the same time. In fact, in some cases removing the cataract may reduce eye pressure in its own right.

However, in other cases, glaucoma may weaken the interior structure of the eye. This can make cataract surgery more dangerous for a patient who also has glaucoma.

The only way to know for sure what the best option is to talk to your eye doctor. A comprehensive eye exam can help your doctor determine whether to remove your cataracts or if it’s better to wait.

Have cataracts and glaucoma? Looking for a second opinion? Schedule an appointment at Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons in Washington, DC today!


Andrew G. Iwach, MD. “Cataract Surgery and Glaucoma”, Glaucoma Research Foundation https://www.glaucoma.org/treatment/cataract-surgery-and-glaucoma.php


"My experience is always positive."
-Marvin L.

"The doctors and staff are always professional, courteous, and informative."
-Mary A.

"I have had perfect experience at this practice."
-Joanne R.

"My eye doctor is friendly and knowledgeable. All of my questions were answered. He is professional but down to earth."
-Carole K.

"My eye doctor is extremely helpful."

"Now both of my eyes feel like they are in the land of OZ."
-Joyce B.

"I never thought I would ever say that I enjoyed surgery, but it was really fun! No pain or discomfort."
-David F.

"My eye doctor explained the surgery and made me feel very comfortable - he built trust."
-Michelle S.

"I am thrilled with the results of my procedures. I am even golfing better!"
-Helane G.

"Excellent surgeon but also a very patient oriented courteous doctor who carefully explains his patients' options."
-Susan S.

"A World Class person and an absolutely great Doctor."
-Chuck W.

Laser Vision Correction

If you are seeking a Washington DC LASIK eye surgery specialist you have come to the right place. Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons is located in Chevy Chase. Our LASIK surgeons are dedicated to creating the best possible LASIK eye surgery outcomes.

look AS good as you feel

Eyelid Surgery can reduce the aging, tired, or sad look caused by drooping eyelids. The Oculoplastic Surgeons also perform reconstructive surgery of the eye socket and orbital fractures of the facial bones, including eye prostheses, tearing problems, lid twitches, and blepharospasm.

Premium Lens Implants

If you are seeking reduced dependence on eye glasses after cataract surgery in Washington DC, take a moment to explore advanced technology lenses such as Crystalens®, Acrysof® Restor, multifocal Tecnis® and Toric lenses for astigmatism correction.