When should a cataract be removed?

Cataracts often go hand in hand with getting older. As we age, the lens of our eyes tends to get opaque, cloudy and thick. The cataracts that come from that are like a film that keeps the light from getting into the eye so we can see.

But thanks to modern medicine, cataracts can now be removed and replaced. It’s an extremely safe operation, and it can usually be done with just local anesthetic. Cataract surgery is a quality of life improvement that could help you go back to the level of independence you had before.

The anatomy of a cataract

You know what a cataract is like if you’ve ever had a set of glasses. Over time they get scratched and dinged up, slowly becoming harder to see through as they age. Your eyes are much the same. Just like those glasses, the problem that makes the lens opaque is part of the lens itself, not something that can be removed from it.

So we replace the lens.

Your eye has its own lens, which sits at the very front where you see your pupil. A trained ophthalmologist can perform an operation in which a small probe is inserted which uses sound waves to break up the old lens. That old lens is then gently suctioned out. A very small incision is made in the eye and the new, artificial lens is folded up and placed in the probe. The probe is inserted back into the incision and the new lens unfolds into place.

It’s a routine operation that’s performed often throughout the world. With modern technology it’s easier, quicker and more painless than it’s ever been.

When should I remove a cataract?

You should have your cataract removed when it affects your quality of life.

If you’re having difficulty getting around, reading or anything involving your daily life, it may be time to consider cataract surgery. If you have cataracts in both eyes, your doctor may suggest doing them staggered so you have both eyes working (and can see how much of a difference it’s made). Some people only opt for one, but doing both helps significantly with depth perception and visual acuity.

Cataract surgery can seem like a big step, but it’s something that can help you live better. If your cataracts are getting severe, give us a call and set up an appointment. We’ll help you and advise you on where to go next.