Are you not seeing as clearly as you used to? Does your vision impact your daily activities? Persistent hazy, cloudy, or blurry eyesight may be a sign of a serious medical condition. Two common types of eye problems that affect the vision are glaucoma and cataracts.
At Peña Eye Institute in Harlingen, TX, Dr. Raul Peña performs comprehensive visual examinations to restore vision and improve quality of life. Here, our team explores glaucoma vs. cataracts and discusses each condition in more detail.
What Is the Difference between Glaucoma and a Cataract?
Vision is a complicated process that involves many steps: glaucoma and cataracts interfere at different points in this process. Cataracts are spots of cloudiness that affect the clear lens of the eye, which is located just beyond the pupil and allows us to adjust our focus to see objects at different distances. Eventually, the tissue breaks down and forms clumps, which leads to hazy vision. As a result, patients face difficulty reading and driving due to their impaired eyesight.
In contrast, glaucoma refers to a group of medical conditions that harm the optic nerve located in the back of the eyes, which transfers visual information to the brain. This damage is caused by a significant increase in pressure within the eye.
For many patients, the onset of glaucoma is so gradual that they do not notice any problems at first. It is not until the condition is more advanced that more obvious signs began to appear. Some of these include:
- Tunnel vision
- Blurry vision
- Eye pain
- Blind spots in the central or peripheral vision
- Halos around lights
When it comes to cataracts, symptoms often are not noticeable at the beginning stages. As the condition progresses, individuals experience worsening vision. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Constantly needing changes to contact lens or glasses prescriptions
- Sensitivity to light
- Double vision in one eye
- Appearance of halos around lights
When Should I See My Doctor?
You should visit your eye doctor for regular appointments since it can take a long time for glaucoma and cataract symptoms to appear. However, you should schedule a visit as soon as you notice any changes to your vision. Cataracts can be treated and impaired vision can be restored the sooner it is detected. However, if left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness, which cannot be reversed.
What Treatment Options are Available?
In our Harlingen office, we offer several treatment options for both cataracts and glaucoma. For cataracts, we can change your glasses or contacts prescriptions to improve your vision. When prescription changes do not work, we can perform surgery to remove cataracts and replace the damaged lens.
For glaucoma, we often begin treatment with medicated eye drops to lower eye pressure and improve fluid drainage. There are also a variety of oral medications available to bring down eye pressure. The doctor can offer several types of surgery to drain an accumulation of fluid on the eye to reduce pressure.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about glaucoma vs. cataracts, please contact our Harlingen practice at (956) 661-8733 or schedule a consultation online for more information.