When to have Cataract Surgery


There is no medical cure to eliminate cataracts or stop them from forming. If nearsightedness is the result of a cataract or a shift in vision, updated prescription eyeglasses may provide some improvement. However, only surgery will remove cataracts.

Early Signs of Cataracts

Some early signs of cataracts include the following list of symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your eye care professional for an examination:

  • Diminished vision that is clouded or blurred.
  • Poor night vision that is progressively worsening.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • The appearance of ‘halos’ surrounding lights.
  • Frequent prescription changes with correct lenses.
  • Colors appear dull or yellowy.
  • Double vision in one eye.

How to Remove Cataracts

A cataract is a medical condition that occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy over time, resulting in poor eyesight. Cataract surgery is performed to remove the opaque lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens to restore vision. This outpatient surgical procedure is quick and does not require an overnight hospital stay.

When to have Cataract Surgery

Surgical removal of a cataract isn’t always necessary. It is common for many individuals with cataracts to not experience any symptoms. The presence of the cataract doesn’t always cause blurred vision or interfere with normal daily life. In these cases, surgery is not recommended.

On the other hand, if the person with cataracts is having a hard time reading due to blurred vision, has poor night vision while driving, or simply has diminished eyesight, removing cataracts may be the solution. Basically, if an individual can no longer do all the things he or she once did due to declining vision, cataract surgery may be the answer. It can restore the patient’s quality of life.

If both eyes are covered with cataracts, surgery is generally performed a few weeks apart, each eye individually. It is not recommended that both eyes be treated at the same time. This reduces the risk of complications or infections affecting both eyes.

Removing Early Cataracts

With modern technology it is no longer necessary to wait for a cataract to develop to an advanced stage before it can be removed. The lens can now be safely extracted from the eye at any point. In fact, it is safer and more beneficial to remove early cataracts. As time goes on, the cataract hardens, making it more difficult to remove. However, it still holds true that only patients who are experiencing troublesome symptoms should undergo surgery.

In some cases, if the cataracts continue to develop over an extended period of time, inflammation develops or increased eye pressure which can eventually lead to glaucoma. This scenario is rare in the United States. When this problem does arise, cataract surgery it necessary to prevent vision loss.

Ultimately, the decision to undergo surgery needs to stay in the hands of the individual. Eye care professionals are there to educate patients and help guide them in the process of making a well-informed decision. If you have been unable to live the life you want due to the bothersome symptoms discussed in this article and would like to be evaluated for cataract surgery, contact your physician.