When You Might Need Cataract Surgery And What To Expect

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If you were diagnosed with cataracts, your eye doctor may be watching how they progress rather than jumping to surgery right away. One reason to be cautious about having surgery done as soon as you're diagnosed is that your cataracts may grow so slowly that you won't ever need surgery. 

However, it's common to need surgery at some point when you have cataracts. Here's when your eye doctor may decide it's time for cataract surgery and a quick look at how it's done.

How To Know When It's Time For Cataract Surgery

When you're first diagnosed with cataracts, they may not affect your vision too much. As they grow, the lens may get cloudier or you may notice halos in your vision. When the cataracts affect your vision, it's time to talk to your doctor about surgery.

However, a consideration to keep in mind is when your insurance policy will cover the surgery. You may need to have a specific amount of vision loss or disturbance before your insurance will pay. This is something you'll want to find out when you and your doctor first start discussing surgery for your cataracts.

What To Expect With The Procedure

If you have cataracts in both eyes, you'll probably have one eye operated on at a time. Although you'll have to go through the procedure twice, it may be easier on you to do one eye at a time since you'll need to keep patches on your eyes, and you may have blurry vision for a while. In some cases, your eye doctor might agree to do both eyes at once, so be sure to discuss your options.

Even though the procedure is considered eye surgery, it's done in your eye doctor's office or clinic. It only requires a local anesthetic that's placed in your eye through eye drops rather than general anesthesia. Plus, you may have oral or IV sedation to help you stay comfortable.

The surgical procedure involves removing the lens of your eye and replacing it with a new lens. Since cataracts make your old lens cloudy, removing it helps improve your vision.

How Your Vision May Change With Cataract Surgery

If you wear glasses now, you may be anxious to know if you can stop wearing them after surgery. Each person is different and different vision problems respond differently to the surgery.

It's possible you won't have to wear glasses, but you might. You may not need to wear them as often or you might need to wear them all the time. Whether you need to wear glasses or not, your vision should be improved. You may no longer have problems with cloudy vision or halos around lights.

Your eye doctor can explain what you might expect after your surgery depending on your eye condition before the procedure.