Difference Between Cataract Surgery and Glaucoma Surgery

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 14, 2022


Difference Between Cataract Surgery and Glaucoma Surgery Difference Between Cataract Surgery and Glaucoma Surgery

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Both glaucoma and cataracts are eye conditions that can impair eye health and cause vision loss. They differ in their aetiology, treatments, and results despite sharing certain risk factors and some symptoms in common. Surgery can help safeguard the eyesight and prevent it from deteriorating, but it cannot reverse vision loss or treat glaucoma.

Cataract Surgery vs. Glaucoma Surgery

Cataract Surgery: What is it?

The cataract must be removed surgically. Modern cataract surgeries sometimes include no sutures and very minor incisions. The cornea, the transparent portion of your eye, is cut with a very small incision. The capsule or bag that contains the cataract has a circular aperture. Through this cut, a probe is placed into your eye. With the use of an ultrasound probe, the cataract is divided into several tiny pieces, and the cataract debris is extracted using an automated irrigation-aspiration system. An intraocular lens implant (IOL) is inserted into the bag once all of the lens material has been removed and cleaned. T

The implanted prosthetic lens is permanently fixed in the normal anatomic location. A doctor could decide to implant the IOL in a different site if they feel it is safer if the capsular bag is unstable, which is more prevalent in some glaucoma patients. In some cases, especially if a glaucoma operation was also performed, doctor may sew the corneal incision once the procedure is complete. This stitch is removed painlessly in the clinic.

Glaucoma Surgery: What is it?

The delicate, microscopic incisional trabeculectomy (with or without the implantation of an ExPRESS microshunt), tube shunt implantation (a shunt is a glaucoma drainage device), and cyclophotocoagulation are glaucoma procedures. Additionally, there are more recent techniques known as MIGS, or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery. Each form of glaucoma surgery has particular applications, benefits, and drawbacks. You should have a thorough conversation with your surgeon about the advantages and disadvantages of the particular glaucoma surgery you may choose to have before deciding whether to proceed.

You should have a thorough conversation with your surgeon about the advantages and disadvantages of the particular glaucoma surgery you may choose to have before deciding whether to proceed. We shall go through the drawbacks and advantages of glaucoma surgery in general in this essay.

To lower intraocular pressure, surgery is required, either in the form of laser therapy or an eye incision. Depending on the kind and severity of your glaucoma as well as the overall condition of your eye, your doctor will advise a particular form of surgery. When medicine does not reduce pressure enough, surgery may be necessary. It cannot, however, stop eyesight loss.

Spinal Surgery

Unless the eye pressure is extremely high or the optic nerve has suffered severe injury, doctors frequently advise laser surgery before incisional surgery. The trabecular meshwork, or drainage system of the eye, is operated on with a laser during surgery. This facilitates a greater discharge of fluid from the eye.

Precussive Surgery

Incisional surgery, also known as filtering surgery, is making a drainage hole with a tiny surgical instrument. This new aperture enables the intraocular fluid to exit this new, man-made drainage canal instead of the blocked drainage canals.

The doctor could advise incisional surgery if laser surgery fails to successfully decrease ocular pressure or if the pressure starts to increase again. In certain cases, glaucoma surgery may need to be repeated, particularly if extensive scarring cannot be avoided or if it has been a lengthy time since the initial procedure.

Difference Between Cataract Surgery and Glaucoma Surgery in Tabular Form

Table: Cataract Surgery vs. Glaucoma Surgery
Parameter of Comparison 
Cataract Surgery
Glaucoma Surgery
In cataract surgery, the lens is taken out and is substituted with an artificial lens.
A laser is used during glaucoma surgery to clear clogged canals that are obstructing fluid drainage.
Blurry or cloudy vision
Poor night vision (night blindness)
See colors as faded
Feeling of lights being too bright (lamps, sun, headlights)
See halos around lights, etc.
Tunnel vision (in advanced stages)
Eye pain
Nausea and/or vomiting
Severe headaches
Blurred vision
See halos around lights
Redness of the eye, etc.
Medical condition
cataracts are not an emergency medical condition.
While glaucoma requires prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Risk factor
Smoking and diabetes ,  high blood pressure ,   continuous steroid usage ,  excessive alcohol consumption , too much sun exposure.
The chance of developing glaucoma is increased in those over the age of 60.
Open-angle glaucoma ,A person is more likely to get glaucoma if they have a member of their immediate family who already has the disease.
Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun , quit smoking,  Consume foods that are rich in the antioxidants your eyes require ,  decrease alcohol consumption , If you have a condition like diabetes, look after your general health by scheduling routine eye tests and according to your treatment plan.
During a normal eye checkup, glaucoma can be identified.  Doctor will probably provide eye medications that dilate (open) your pupil in order to diagnose glaucoma. The pressure in your eye will also be examined by your doctor. This process is painless.

What is Glaucoma?

Too much fluid pressure inside of your eye leads to glaucoma. The aqueous humour, a fluid, is present in your eyes. Your body replenishes that fluid each day. Older fluid exits your eye through a tiny aperture and a drainage field made of meshwork. In order to maintain a constant pressure gradient inside the eyeball, fresh fluid replaces the old fluid.

Pressure inside your eye may increase if something obstructs either of the drainage systems. If the fluid pressure is not reduced, optic nerve fibres may suffer long-term damage, leading to blindness. Glaucoma can be classified as either open-angle or closed-angle. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common kind. As the strain builds up, vision gradually deteriorates. Around 10% Trusted Closed-angle situations are those when the obstruction occurs unexpectedly. Rapid and severe symptoms are present. Closed-angle glaucoma is a serious medical problem that has to be treated right away.


Glaucoma may not initially exhibit any symptoms, especially if it develops gradually. Peripheral vision loss might be the first sign you experience. This implies that you might not be able to see objects clearly outside of your range of view.

Intense eye discomfort and other abrupt symptoms are more common in closed-angle glaucoma. Your eye may seem red and feel stiff to the touch. You could also experience nausea.

When you have closed-angle glaucoma, your vision may become fuzzy and you could notice bright halos all around. If you experience closed-angle glaucoma symptoms, it's critical to get medical attention very once.

Sometimes microscopic incisions that enable drainage must be made using surgery or microsurgical methods. Called, to allow fluid to drain from your eye, tiny tubes or stents may be placed. To keep you quiet during the surgery, you'll be awake but numbed and drugged.

To lower intraocular pressure, surgery is required, either in the form of laser therapy or an eye incision.

Several glaucoma procedures, including the following, can help lower eye pressure:

  • Trabeculectomy (tra-BECK-yoo-LECK-toh-mee)
  • glaucoma implant surgery
  • surgery for glaucoma with the least amount of interruption (MIGS)

What is Trabeculectomy?

Surgery of this kind is typically performed to treat open-angle glaucoma. It normally takes less than an hour and is performed at a hospital. Your eye's top will have a little hole made by the surgeon. No one will see the opening since it is hidden behind your eyelid. By allowing surplus fluid in your eye to drain away, this hole helps to reduce eye pressure. You will typically be awake throughout this procedure, but you will also be given numbing and relaxing medication. The majority of the time, you can return home the same day, but you'll need a ride.

What is Glaucoma Implant Surgery?

Congenital, neovascular, and injury-related glaucomas are among the many forms of glaucoma that can be treated with this kind of surgery. It normally takes one to two hours and is performed at a hospital. The surgeon performs this procedure by inserting a small tube called a shunt onto the white of your eye. The tube aids in the drainage of excess fluid from your eye, therefore reducing ocular pressure.

You will typically be awake throughout this procedure, but you will also be given numbing and relaxing medication. The majority of the time, you can return home the same day, but you'll need a ride.

What are Cataracts?

Images are projected onto your retina at the back of your eye thanks to light passing through a transparent lens within your eye. The proteins in your eye deteriorate with time. They may group together to create clumps that are white, yellow, or brown and obscure, impede, or otherwise affect your eyesight. Cataracts are these clusters that resemble clouds.

The most frequent cause of visual loss worldwide is cataracts. More than half of Americans over 80 either presently have cataracts or have had them surgically removed in the past, according to the National Eye InstituteTrusted Source.


It takes time for cataracts to form. Even while you might not experience any symptoms at first, you will ultimately likely feel some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • fuzzy vision
  • dual perception
  • a lack of night vision
  • increased light sensitivity
  • drab or fading hues
  • frequent modifications to your prescription for eyeglasses

Your symptoms may vary depending on where the cataract is on your lens.

Risk Factors for Cataracts

Although it is uncommon, some people get cataracts as children and some people are born with cataracts due to an infection in the uterus. Cataracts can also develop as a result of eye surgery or after an injury to the eye.

However, as you age, your eyes naturally undergo changes that are the most frequent cause of cataracts. At the age of 40, there are roughly 2.5 percent of individuals who have cataractsTrusted Source, but by the age of 75, that percentage rises to about 49 percent.

The chances of acquiring cataracts may also be increased by several additional variables, such as:

  • diabetes
  • Obesity
  • smoking
  • blood pressure is high.
  • continuous steroid usage
  • abusing booze too much
  • too much sun exposure

Identification and treatment

During a standard eye checkup, a simple dilation test can be used to identify cataracts. To temporarily expand (dilate) your pupil, your doctor will inject eye drops into your eyes. Your doctor will be able to notice any cataracts on your lens more easily as a result.

It might be able to adjust your prescription if your cataracts are minor to accommodate changes in your vision. If your cataracts have progressed, surgery could be necessary. Surgery to remove cataracts is a frequent technique that often has positive outcomes.

Reduction of cataracts

You may take measures to lessen your chance of developing cataracts. You can, for instance:

  • Put on shades to shield your eyes from the sun.
  • If you're currently a smoker, give it up.
  • ingest meals that are rich in the antioxidants your eyes require.
  • lower your alcohol intake
  • If you have a condition like diabetes, look after your general health by scheduling routine eye tests and according to your treatment plan.

Main Difference Between Glaucoma and Cataracts Surgery in Points

The fact that these two eye disorders are caused by different things is the main distinction between them.

  • A accumulation of fluid within your eye leads to glaucoma. An buildup of denatured proteins in your eye leads to cataracts.
  • These two scenarios also have different results. Frequently, cataract surgery can improve eyesight. However, if you suffer from glaucoma, you may lose some of your vision permanently.
  • While cataracts entail the breakdown of proteins and impact the lens, glaucoma involves eye pressure and damages the optic nerve.
  • In contrast to glaucoma, which may be either gradual and subtle or rapid and severe depending on the kind and severity, cataracts are painless and develop over time.
  • In contrast to cataracts, which reduce the likelihood of visual loss, glaucoma can result in permanent blindness (albeit still possible).
  • Surgery can restore vision in cases of cataracts but not in cases of glaucoma.
  • In contrast to glaucoma surgery, which employs a laser to clear clogged canals that are obstructing fluid outflow, cataract surgery includes removing the lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
  • While glaucoma requires prompt diagnosis and treatment, cataracts are not an emergency medical condition.

Are there any similarities between glaucoma and cataracts?

  • Loss of eyesight can be brought on by cataracts or glaucoma. People with diabetes are more likely to develop one of these eye conditions.
  • Treatment options for cataracts and glaucoma both include surgery. (It's crucial to remember, though, that this is not the first line of glaucoma treatment. Usually, it is only used when other forms of therapy, including eye drops, are ineffective.)
  • If glaucoma and cataracts are not identified and treated at an early stage, both conditions can result in visual loss. Both illnesses can result in hazy vision in addition to other symptoms.
  • The accumulation of fluid inside your eye causes glaucoma. The optic nerve is compressed when eye fluid cannot drain adequately. This may result in irreversible eyesight loss. The goal of treatment is to lower the fluid pressure inside of your eye.
  • Your eye's lens becomes clogged with protein, which leads to cataracts. Poor night vision, double vision, and foggy vision may result from this. You become more prone to have cataracts as you become older. Fortunately, cataract surgery may usually help patients regain their eyesight.
  • Regular eye exams are crucial to ensuring that glaucoma or cataracts are caught early enough to maintain the health of your eyes and your vision, especially as you age.


Cataracts and glaucoma are two eye disorders that can damage eye health and impair vision. Despite having similar risk factors and symptoms, their etiologies, treatments, and outcomes vary. Surgery can help protect the eyesight and keep it from declining, but it cannot treat glaucoma or restore lost vision. The outcomes of these two scenarios are also dissimilar. Eyesight may frequently be improved through cataract surgery. However, glaucoma patients run the risk of permanently losing some of their eyesight.


  • https://www.lindavision.com/2020/11/26/difference-between-glaucoma-cataracts/
  • https://www.sweye.com/blog/cataracts/the-differences-between-glaucoma-and-cataracts/


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"Difference Between Cataract Surgery and Glaucoma Surgery." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 27 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-cataract-surgery-and-glaucoma-surgery-1024>.

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