‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday 10 July, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
Read the response by Miss Fiona O' Sullivan, consultant ophthalmologist:
I am 48 year old female, I have cataracts, can my glaucoma be treated and how? Hope you can help. Thanks. Sylvia, Horsham.
Dear Sylvia, if you have cataracts, which is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye, this can be treated very successfully by a straightforward cataract operation. The surgeon removes the cloudy lens and inserts a clear lens implant into the same site as your original lens. The new implant is made of high grade acrylic and helps to focus your vision and lasts throughout your life. This operation is usually performed under local anaesthetic and you can go home immediately afterwards. The improvement in vision after this operation occurs within a few days.
Glaucoma, by contrast, is a long term condition caused by raised pressure in the eyeball. The most common treatment for this condition is for the patient to insert eye drops daily to lower the pressure to a safer level. It is perfectly safe for the vast majority of patients who have glaucoma to also undergo cataract surgery and to expect good improvement in vision. If you are already taking eye drops for glaucoma it is likely you will need to continue with these after your cataract operation. Sometimes removing the cataract can help to lower the pressure in the eye as well as improving the vision. However glaucoma is a lifelong condition and you will still need regular check-ups for glaucoma after cataract surgery.