How can a cataract be treated?
A cataract may not need to be treated if your vision is only slightly blurry. Simply changing your eyeglass prescription may help to improve your vision for a while.
There are no medications, eye drops, exercises, dietary supplements or glasses that will cause cataracts to disappear or stop progressing or to prevent them from forming.
Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. When you are no longer able to see well enough to do the things you like to do, cataract surgery should be considered. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye through a surgical incision. In most cases, the natural lens is replaced with a permanent intraocular lens (IOL) implant.
When should surgery be done?
Surgery should be considered when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with your daily activities. It is not true that cataracts need to be ‘ripe’ or ‘mature’ before they can be removed or that they need to be removed just because they are present. Based on your symptoms, you and your ophthalmologist should decide together when surgery is appropriate.
Will cataract surgery improve my vision?
The success rate of cataract surgery is excellent, over 95%. However, even if cataract surgery is successful, some patients may not see as well as they would like to. Other eye problems such macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy, if present, may limit vision after surgery. Even with these problems, cataract surgery may still be worthwhile. Talk to your ophthalmologist to learn more about cataract surgery, its risks and benefits.
What can I expect in cataract surgery?
During cataract surgery, which is usually performed under local or topical anesthesia as an outpatient procedure, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye. In most cases, the focusing power of the natural lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent IOL implant. Your ophthalmologist performs this delicate surgery using a microscope, miniature instruments and other modern technology. Hence, traditionally, this procedure is often referred to as ‘microsurgery’.
Nowadays cataract surgery is performed by a technique called phacoemulsification.