Value of cataract extraction in patients with glaucoma
Cataract extraction may help in reducing the pressure in patients with glaucoma. This particularly applies to patients with short eye, since the cataractous lens frequently takes up a lot of space within the eye and tends to block the escape of fluid from inside the eye. In some patients, it makes more sense to do a cataract operation than a glaucoma filtering operation (trabeculectomy) to reduce intraocular pressure (Friedman DS et al. Ophthalmology 2002;1009:1902-13).
Cataract extration also makes visual fields more useful in patients with glaucoma by eliminating the cataract-related visual field defects. The visual field defects observed after cataract extraction are therefore much more likely to be related to glaucoma alone.
What to do about drops?
You need to continue with your glaucoma drops after surgery in the usual way ie you should use Pred Forte and Chloramphenicol drops both 4 times a day in addition to your usual glaucoma medication. The only exception, we occasionally make, is stopping a group of drops known as prostaglandin analogues for a week or two following surgery. This is because these drops very occasionally cause thickening of the retina (cystoid macular oedema) in the aftermath of cataract extraction. Examples of these drops are Latanaprost (Xalatan), Travaprost (Travatan) and Bimatoprost (Lumigan).
Immediate postop pressure spikes in patients with glaucoma (and pseudoexfoliation syndrome) may occur. I therefore routinely give 1 or 2 doses of Diamox SR which, by reducing the production of fluid inside the eye, lowers intraocular pressure. This may make your fingers tingle and can occasionally make you feel a little nauseated. If you are not already using timolol drops, I might use these instead..