Glaucoma vs. cataracts: both are serious eye disorders, but there are differences in terms of symptoms, causes, and treatment.
Glaucoma is a condition in which pressure damages the optic nerve. Meanwhile, cataracts cause a cloudy eye lens. Both conditions can cause vision problems but are quite different in various ways. For example, glaucoma gradually affects the field of vision, while cataracts slowly affect vision clarity. An eye doctor can perform an exam and order tests to determine whether you have glaucoma or cataracts. People 40+ years old are more likely to develop cataracts, although it’s much more common among those in the 60+-year-old range.
What Exactly Is Glaucoma?
This is an eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve of the eye. It can become worse as time passes. Glaucoma is often connected to pressure buildup inside the eye. Glaucoma is often genetic and people often get it in middle age or senior years.
The eye pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve, which sends images to the brain. If glaucoma’s pressure gets worse then it can cause permanent vision loss or blindness in a couple of years.
Usually, there’s no symptoms/pain during glaucoma’s early stages. It’s important to get regular yearly eye checkups to get tested/diagnosed for glaucoma. This can help to prevent long-term vision loss.
It’s important to lower the eye pressure to save the existing vision. In most cases when people get treatment and eye exams they’re able to save their vision.
Glaucoma is caused by fluid buildup in the eye. Normally it flows outside the eye through a channel. However, when the channel is blocked there’s a liquid buildup. Health experts have learned that the eye condition can be inherited from parents. However, in some cases, they’re unsure what’s caused the condition.
There are other causes of glaucoma. They include eye infection, injuries, and previous eye surgery. Glaucoma usually affects both eyes although it can also affect one eye or the other one.
The eye disorder has various risk factors. It usually affects adults 40+ years old. However, it’s also possible for teens, children, or infants to have the condition. There are other risk factors including:
- Bad vision
- High blood pressure
- Steroid medicine
- Thin corneas
- Family history of glaucoma
- Eye injury
There are also different kinds of glaucoma. Your doctor needs to provide an exam to diagnose whether you have a certain kind. Meanwhile, treatments include laser and traditional surgery.
Glaucoma vs. Cataracts
There are various similarities and differences between glaucoma and cataracts. This condition is related to cloudy lenses. It’s like looking through a foggy/dusty car/truck windshield. This causes things to appear blurry or hazy when people have cataracts.
There are various symptoms people exercise when they have cataracts:
- Double vision
- Problems with night vision
- Bright colors become faded
- Light sensitivity
- Blurry vision
The most common cause of cataracts is aging. That’s because of regular eye changes that happen at 40+ years old. This is when the lens proteins start breaking down. That’s what causes the lens to become cloudy.
Meanwhile, people 60+ years old typically start having some lens cloudiness. It’s still possible for these conditions to start happening in future years.
Various other factors can affect cataracts including:
- Medical problems like diabetes
- Steroid medicines
- Past eye injury/surgery
- Not wearing sunglasses with UV protection
- Long UV ray exposure
- Family members with cataracts
The speed at which cataracts develop is based on the type. Age-related cataracts progress slowly. Meanwhile, other types of progress faster. That includes those related to diabetes or genetics. Doctors can’t determine how fast the eye disorder will develop.
Surgery is the only way to cure cataracts. This procedure has been done since 1747, and 95% of patients report their vision was improved after cataract surgery.
There are various steps you can take to help prevent or slow down cataracts’ development. They include wearing eyeglasses/sunglasses with UV protection. You should also maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise.
There are some key similarities between these two eye conditions. Both are serious conditions and can cause loss of vision. When this happens, it can negatively affect your day-to-day life, which is a key is to consider. If you think you have signs of either condition, it’s important to schedule an eye doctor appointment.
Top Tips for Preventing Cataracts
Make sure to go with shades with UV protection. Doing so will help protect your eye lenses. UV light has the potential to damage the lens’ proteins. Make sure the sunglasses also provide UVA and UVB protection since these have different wavelengths.
It’s important to limit alcohol consumption if you want to lower your risk of cataracts. Studies show you have a lower chance of eye disorder if you limit your alcohol consumption. If you’re going to drink, it should be up to 2 daily servings for men, and 1 daily serving for women. You should also go with healthier options like red wine.
Watch blood sugar
If you have diabetes, then it’s especially important to watch your blood sugar levels. That’s because diabetes can increase your risk of cataracts. Avoid foods like refined grains and white sugar since they’re known to cause blood sugar spikes.
Good eye health is yet another reason you should try to drink enough water. Studies show that drinking more water might help to lower your risk of cataracts. That’s because if you experience dehydration, it can increase toxin buildup and increase your risk of cataracts.
Make sure to drink 2 to 3 liters of water daily. Purified water is the best option to get the best results. You should also try to opt for water over sugary drinks like sodas and sports drinks. They can cause a lot of health issues you’ll want to avoid.
There are certain foods you should eat, including antioxidants. Some good options include spinach, asparagus, and broccoli. These are eye-friendly foods. Some fruits to add to your diet include strawberries, grapefruit, and avocados. Studies show that these foods are healthy.
There are other foods you should consider. They include carrots, leafy greens, eggs, and corn. These are some other eye-friendly foods to consume after learning about glaucoma vs. cataracts.