What are Cataracts?
As we age, the natural lens that exists just behind the iris, which is meant to be a transparent component of the eye so light can easily pass through it, can become foggy. The clouding areas, which result from protein fibers clumping are known as cataracts.
Aside from age, there are several other causes of cataracts, including genetics. In rare situations, cataracts can even be present at birth. They can become very severe and make it nearly impossible for a person to see anything.
Fortunately, today, there are procedures available to cataract patients. Cataract surgeons, Austin, TX have been successfully replacing the ill-functioning lenses with artificial replacements for years with wonderful success. However, as with any procedure, there are certain risks that can make certain people poor candidates for the procedure. Patients that also suffer from Glaucoma are among those that will not receive treatment without very careful consideration on the part of the glaucoma specialists and the patient.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition that results from increased pressure in the eye, called IOP. When IOP reaches high levels, it can lead to damage to nerve tissue within the eye. When this begins to deteriorate fibers of the optic nerve, communication with the brain can be interrupted, leading to substantial vision loss or even blindness. This, too, is most frequently seen in people of the older generations. Due to the fact that both Glaucoma and cataracts are very common, it should not come as any surprise that many people will experience both in their lifetimes.
Surgical Treatment of Cataracts
In order to help patients of cataracts, eye doctors in South Austin, TX will generally recommend surgery. The process, which involves the removal of the natural lenses and the implanting of artificial replacements has proven very effective. In many patients, vision correction is immediate and recovery time is minimal compared to other surgical procedures. However, as mentioned above, there is some potential for certain negative side effects that make Glaucoma patients a riskier population.
Dangers of Cataract Surgery for Glaucoma Patients
Though rare, there are complications that can arise during or shortly after a surgical cataract correction. Many hold no further complications for Glaucoma patients:
Secondary cataract Cataracts, once removed, cannot return because the artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL) is non-organic, but something referred to as ‘secondary cataracts’ have been noted in a very small percentage of patients. This condition can also be treated by ophthalmologists and is a clouding of the thin membrane that holds the replacement lens in place. This can increase light glare and make it difficult to see clearly. If allowed to progress, this can result in Posterior Capsule Opacification and may result in vision worse than before the initial surgery.
Droopy Eyelid is, as the name suggests, a condition that causes the eyelid to hang differently than it would normally. In severe cases, this can cause a person a lot of difficulty seeing, because the eyelid covers the eye to such a large degree. It can also cause irritation and tearing, similar to what an eye allergy doctor would treat. This, too, can be corrected.
While these are not any more common in Glaucoma patients than in any other individual, there is one particular risk that is a big concern for those with Glaucoma:
Increased IOP Unfortunately, after eye surgery, there is a chance that intraocular pressure can increase, which is, obviously, bad news for those already suffering from high IOP and damaged nerve cells. This is the single biggest concern for the surgeon when addressing cataract issues in Glaucoma patients.
Broberg Eye Care
4207 James Casey St # 305
Austin, TX 78745-1193