At least for awhile, prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses can help with vision problems that develop as a result of a cataract. However, your vision may eventually get so bad that it begins to affect your day-to-day life. In these cases, your doctor will probably recommend surgery to remove the cataract and restore your vision.
A Answers (9)
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
The only treatment for cataracts is to surgically remove the lens in the eye with the cataracts, and then put in a new lens. This should restore vision.
UCLA Health answered
For the 60 percent of Americans older than 60 who will be affected by cataracts -- a disease in which the eye's clear lens becomes clouded, requiring surgical removal -- an increasing number of options are available in the form of intraocular lens (IOL) implants.
"Hundreds of IOLs are now on the market," says Kevin M. Miller, MD, Kolokotrones Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute. While all IOLs improve vision, eligible people willing to pay out-of-pocket costs for certain “premium” lenses may be able to avoid the need for glasses completely. Premium IOLs have in some cases moved from monofocal to multifocal -- potentially enabling the individual to see well, without glasses or contacts, at both near and far distances. According to Dr. Miller, when planning cataract surgery, people should discuss their options with their doctor.
Before IOLs came of age in the 1980s, people who had cataracts removed were left with a condition called aphakia (absence of a lens in the eye) and needed to wear thick “Coke bottle” glasses or special contact lenses in order to see. With the advent of lens designs that provide far better optical results than could ever be obtained with the special glasses or contact lenses, implanting a lens at the time of cataract removal has become the norm.
"Lens implants were initially designed simply to rectify the aphakia problem, knowing that glasses or contact lenses would take care of the rest of the optical error," says Dr. Miller. "But starting in the 1990s, the emphasis has been on trying to get the best possible vision without glasses, both from better surgery and the type of lens implanted. Design innovations have subsequently improved night vision through aspheric optics and filtered potentially damaging ultraviolet and high-frequency visible blue light."
Scripps Health answered
Cataracts are very fixable with outpatient surgery, during which the natural lens is replaced with a plastic one. Cataract surgery is the most common medical procedure done on people 65 and older.
Surgery is the only effective method of treating vision loss caused by cataracts.
Cataract surgery is a common procedure that involves removing the clouded lens of the eye (the cataract). The lens makes it possible for the eye to focus. The lens can be replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant (IOL). Sometimes an IOL is not used, and eyeglasses or contact lenses can compensate for the lens that is removed.
Surgery is often not needed or can be delayed for months or years. Many people with cataracts get along very well with the help of eyeglasses, contacts and other vision aids.
The choices for treating cataracts in children depend on how likely the cataracts are to interfere with the development of normal vision.
Whether surgery is needed for an adult with cataracts depends on the degree of vision loss and whether it affects quality of life and ability to function.
Cataracts: Should I Have Surgery?
What to think about
Sometimes a cataract needs to be removed because of another eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration. In some cases the cataract has to be removed so that the eye specialist can treat the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye.
Misconceptions about cataracts are common. More and more medical centers have been built specifically for cataract surgery. Marketing campaigns aimed at older adults may encourage some people to have surgery when they do not really need it. Because of fear of blindness or loss of independence, older adults may think they need to have surgery even when their cataracts do not affect their quality of life. In many cases, wearing eyeglasses or contacts and using other vision aids might be appropriate and just as effective without any of the risks of surgery.
Only you can decide whether a cataract is affecting your vision and your life enough to have surgery. If surgery is not going to improve your vision, you may decide that surgery is not for you.
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The symptoms of an early cataract may be improved with eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. The individual and their eye care professional can make this decision together. Once the individual understands the benefits and risks of surgery, they can make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right. In most cases, delaying cataract surgery will not cause long-term damage to the eye or make the surgery more difficult.
If sight has been lost from cataract or cataract surgery, it is important to ask an eye care professional about low vision services and devices that may help improve the remaining vision. Ask for a referral to a specialist in low vision. Many community organizations and agencies offer information about low vision counseling, training, and other special services for people with visual impairments. A nearby school of medicine or optometry may provide low vision services.
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American Academy of Ophthalmology answered
Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed. However, if symptoms of cataract are not bothering you very much, surgery may not be needed. Sometimes a simple change in your eyeglass prescription may be helpful.
No medications, dietary supplements or exercises have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts.
Protection from excessive sunlight may help slow the progression of cataracts. Sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet (UV) light rays or regular eyeglasses with a clear, anti-UV coating offer this protection.
Cataracts can be treated with surgery. Watch this video to learn more from Dr. Manvi Maker about how cataracts are treated.
Cataract treatment is usually based on the severity of the symptoms. Stronger eyeglass lenses, the use of anti-reflective lens coating, or stronger lighting while reading, may help while symptoms are minimal. When cataracts interfere with your everyday activities (such as reading, driving or watching TV) you may need surgery to replace the clouded lens with a clear, artificial one.