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Cataracts vs Glaucoma: What’s the Difference?

Unless you’re in the eye field, it’s easy to confuse the terms cataracts and glaucoma. And yesterday, I completed another dozen surgeries, some for cataracts, others for glaucoma. So what’s the difference?

There is a tiny lens inside your eyeball. When you’re young, it’s as clear as water. But as you age, it yellows and becomes more opaque. At first, the lens stiffens, which is why many of you need reading glasses beginning in your 40’s. But then the lens gets so chalky, it reduces vision even with the best eyeglass prescription. That’s when the lens is called a "cataract." At that point, you'll need to have cataract surgery, in which your discolored natural lens gets dissolved and vacuumed out of the eye and a new acrylic or silicone lens implant is inserted in its place.

Glaucoma, on the other hand, is an optic nerve disease that is usually - but not always - associated with high internal pressure inside the eye. There are different types of glaucoma, but the two main types are open angle glaucoma and narrow angle glaucoma. It can be treated with prescription eyedrops, laser or surgery. Patients are seen regularly for this condition by their eye doctor, with testing that includes computerized side vision testing and imaging of the optic nerves.




Dr. Paul Krawitz, President and CEO
Vitamin Science, Inc.

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