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How will my doctor decide if I'm ready for cataract surgery?

Dr. James J. Salz, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)
It is not the doctor who knows when you are ready for cataract surgery. It is primarily the patient, and it is based on how satisfied you are with your vision. 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 the cataract, 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 a little TV and read with a bright light may have little difficulty, and so surgery is not indicated. The concept that the cataract is ripe or ready is no longer valid as an indication for surgery. It is rare that a cataract must be removed for medical reasons. The final decision is up to the patient, not the surgeon, in most cases.
Dr. Jeffrey J. Wong, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Your doctor will talk to you about much your cataract bothers your vision. This is the most important factor to consider when deciding if you’re ready for cataract surgery. Some people with cataracts don’t have bothersome vision problems, so surgery isn’t necessary. However, if a cataract is making it more difficult to do day-to-day tasks, such as reading, driving, using the computer, or watching TV, cataract surgery may be needed. People with higher visual demands (such as a pilot or a surgeon) may require surgery sooner than someone who is retired and does not drive or do much reading. Ideally, you and your doctor will come to a decision together. In general, the average age for cataract surgery in the United States is in the early 70s.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.