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What is Phacolytic Glaucoma?
An individual with phacolytic glaucoma is typically elderly with a history of progressively worsening vision from pre-existing cataracts. Vision typically is reduced to light perception range.  However,there may be no light perception due to a hypermature cataract and the glaucomatous process.  Phacolytic Glaucoma is a form of secondary glaucoma that is caused by a leaking mature or hypermature cataract. This can lead to a very severe increase in intraocular pressure, as well as corneal edema, and inflammatory cells in the anterior chamber.

What causes Phacolytic Glaucoma?Phacolytic Glaucoma

If left untreated, a cataract can progress to a mature, or even hypermature state. Sometimes these cataracts can become leaky, and excrete proteins that have high molecular weight. These particles can then cause obstruction of the drainage mechanism for the fluid inside the eye, known as the anterior chamber.


Symptoms of Phacolytic Glaucoma

Patients with Phacolytic Glaucoma will usually have slow vision loss for months or years prior to the acute episode, due to the progressing cataract. The acute symptoms mimic those of acute angle-closure glaucoma, and include:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Further decrease in vision
  • Nausea

Treatment of Phacolytic Glaucoma

The initial treatment of Phacolytic Glaucoma is centered around lowering the pressure inside the eye. This is done with a combination of topical and systemic medications. The primary treatment, however, is removal of the cataract.