When is cataract surgery needed? When cataracts reduce vision so that normal activities become difficult, it is time to consider surgery, which is the only way to remove cataracts.

It is primarily the patient who determines when surgery is needed. Some patients have mild cataracts but major problems with glare and halos that make it difficult to drive a car at night or fly a plane, for example. If it is determined that these complaints are due to cataracts, surgery can be considered. Other patients may have more advanced cataracts but few complaints. For example, a patient who no longer drives and only needs to watch TV and read with a bright light may have little difficulty, and so surgery would not be needed. The concept that the cataract is “ripe” or ready is no longer considered a valid indication for surgery.

What about safety and effectiveness?

Today, cataract surgery with intraocular lens (IOL) implants usually takes less than an hour and results in vision improvement for most patients. Although any surgery carries risk, cataract-IOL surgery is uncomplicated and successful in more than 95 percent of patients.

Who does the surgery?

An Eye M.D. (ophthalmologist) performs the surgery. It is important to discuss the surgery and the choice of an intraocular lens (IOL) implant to correct your vision with your Eye M.D. and to ask any questions you may have.

~ Information provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology

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