Glaucoma and cataracts are two of the most common eye conditions among people in the United States and around the world. If you are like many people, you may not fully understand one of these conditions from the other. Understanding the difference between glaucoma and cataracts is important in developing a comprehensive regimen for eye care, including an annual eye exam with an eye doctor.


A cataract is an eye disease that affects the lens of a person’s eye. Cataracts lead to the gradual development of a cloudiness in the lens of an eye. This clouding caused by cataracts prevents light from properly filtering to the retina of the eye. 

Eventually a person with cataracts will have difficulty seeing, particularly in low and bright light. For example, a person with cataracts may ultimately be unable to see well at night. This can make driving dangerous.

Cataracts generally occur in the eyes of people who are over 55 to 60 years of age, and rarely occur in younger individuals.

Symptoms of cataracts include blurry vision, glare or halo around lights, and needing brighter light for normal activities. The glare or halo around lights most often occurs at night, when undertaking activities like driving a car.


Unlike cataracts, glaucoma is not a single eye condition but is regarded as a group of progressive eye diseases. As glaucoma progresses, there is a loss of nerve tissue associated with a person’s eye. If not treated, glaucoma can lead to blindness. In fact, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.

Glaucoma usually occurs in people over the age of 60, and it rarely develops in the younger population.

The symptoms of glaucoma often include sudden blurry vision. Unlike the gradual development of blurry vision associated with cataracts, the blurry vision connected with glaucoma can seem to come out of nowhere. Other symptoms of glaucoma can include severe eye pain, nausea, as well as glare or halo around lights.

Treatment Options

Cataracts are treated by removing the cataract and replacing it with a medical-grade, biocompatible lens. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and typically only takes a few minutes per eye.

Glaucoma can be treated in a number of ways, including drops, laser treatment and Micro Invasive Glaucoma Surgery, or MIGS. 

While cataracts and glaucoma are two distinct conditions, some patients do suffer from both. In some cases, procedures can be performed that replace the cataract and address glaucoma within the same treatment.

Next Steps

If you think you may have symptoms of either glaucoma or cataracts, or if you have not had your annual eye exam, schedule an appointment with one of the eye doctors at Matossian Eye Associates. You can schedule an appointment with an experienced eye doctor at your convenience by calling (800) 708-8800, or by requesting an appointment online. In addition to a consultation for glaucoma or cataracts, the eye doctors at Matossian Eye Associates are available to assist you with all of your eye care needs.