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Combined Cataract and Glaucoma Surgery Lowers Intraocular Pressure More Than Cataract Surgery Alone

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Press Release Date: July 26, 2001

Performing surgery for coexisting glaucoma and cataract at the same time results in lower intraocular pressure (IOP) than cataract surgery alone, according to a report released today by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Increased IOP is a hallmark feature of glaucoma and results from fluid buildup in the eye Unless the pressure is controlled, the optic nerve may be damaged, resulting in vision loss.

The research was undertaken by the Johns Hopkins Evidence-Based Practice Center (EPC), under contract to AHRQ, to identify the most important questions regarding surgical treatment of the coexisting conditions, review the quality and content of existing evidence on surgical treatment, and identify future areas of promising research. The report indicates that because the progression of glaucoma is slow, long-term studies (5 years or longer) are needed to assess the effects of surgery on quality of life. Also, few of the studies included significant numbers of African-Americans, a population that has a high prevalence of glaucoma. African-Americans may respond differently to glaucoma surgery and should be included in larger numbers in future studies.

The report identifies four topics for future research: development of cataract after a patient undergoes glaucoma surgery; control of IOP after cataract surgery in glaucoma patients; long-term control of IOP after cataract surgery in glaucoma patients; and determination of the optimal surgical technique, including a comparison of the benefits of staged vs. combined procedures.

A summary of the EPC report, Treatment of Coexisting Cataract and Glaucoma, Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 38, is available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at or by calling the Clearinghouse at (800) 358-9295.

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Karen Migdail (301) 427-1855 (


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