This is a common question that I often get asked by my patients. Cataract is the clouding of the natural lens in the eye. When it becomes sufficiently cloudy, it can cause blurring of vision and can cause symptoms such as difficulty reading the newspaper, seeing the subtitles on the TV, difficulty driving, or glare symptoms when playing golf. Basically, a person’s cataracts are worth removing with surgery when they are causing noticeable symptoms that impair their quality of vision and functioning. Ideally, you don’t want to have surgery when the cataracts are too mild but also not to wait until they are too severe.
However, there can be a wide variation in any particular individual’s visual needs and wants, and so this needs to be expertly tailored accordingly. An ophthalmologist considers various factors when making recommendations regarding suitability of cataract surgery in a given patient, including severity and type of the cataract, as well as unique characteristics of that person’s eye, including how long or short-sighted, as well as presence of any other eye diseases such as macular degeneration that may be affecting the vision in addition to the cataract. The person’s lifestyle needs such as driving, type of work or leisure activities also impact upon the decision about appropriateness and timing of cataract surgery.
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