Management of concomitant cataract and glaucoma

Dev Ophthalmol. 2012:50:146-156. doi: 10.1159/000334796. Epub 2012 Apr 17.


The coexistence and management of cataract and glaucoma represents a challenging and unsolved problem. The surgical management of this problem is based on both visual field defect and loss of visual acuity. The surgical options currently available are: (1) cataract extraction alone; (2) cataract extraction followed by glaucoma surgery; (3) glaucoma surgery and afterwards, if necessary, cataract extraction; (4) combined surgery of cataract and glaucoma by one site or by two separate sites. Phacoemulsification alone is suggested when glaucoma can be sufficiently controlled by medication and visual field defect is moderate and not progressive. When glaucoma needs three or more types of medication to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) or when the offset is unpredictable, phacoemulsification associated with glaucoma surgery at two different times allows a higher IOP reduction than that with a cataract extraction alone. Finally, when glaucoma is prevailing and the surgeon fears that an IOP spike after phacoemulsification may cause significant damage to the optic nerve, combined surgery allows to achieve a greater IOP decrease than phacoemulsification alone and a more predictable low-IOP range in the immediate postoperative period.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / complications*
  • Cataract Extraction / methods*
  • Filtering Surgery / methods*
  • Glaucoma / complications
  • Glaucoma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Treatment Outcome