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How are cataracts treated by an ophthalmologist?

The first step to treat the early symptoms of a cataract is to get a new eyeglass or contact prescription, use brighter lighting, wear anti-glare sunglasses or use magnifying lenses.

When these changes no longer help, surgery may be the next option.  With surgery, your ophthalmologist will remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens.

Is surgery always an option for cataracts?

Cataract surgery is a decision to be made with your eye specialist. Sometimes a cataract should be removed because it is causing major vision problems. Other times it should be removed because its presence prevents the treatment of another eye problem.

It may be several years before surgery becomes an option for your cataracts. Be sure to have regular vision tests. You and your eye specialist can decide if and when treatment is needed.

When should my ophthalmologist and I discuss surgery?

When your vision loss affects such every day activities as driving, reading, watching TV and performing simple tasks, it is time for you and your ophthalmologist to discuss surgery.

Delaying cataract surgery usually does not cause long-term damage to your eyes, so take your time and make sure you understand both the benefits and the risks.

What are the benefits of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is one of the safest, effective and most common surgeries in the United States. Over ninety-five percent of people who have cataract surgery have better vision after surgery.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Any surgery comes with the risk of bleeding and infection. You may need to stop some medications that increase bleeding risk before surgery, and you will need to keep your hands well cleaned before touching your eyes as well as take prescribed medications to minimize infection risk.

There is also a slight increase in the chance for a detached retina – a serious condition that needs immediate care.

Discuss the benefits and risks of cataract surgery with your ophthalmologist before making the decision to have the surgery.