When should I have cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery involves removing your cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear plastic lens implant. You can have surgery at any stage of your cataract’s development. You don’t have to wait for the cataract to 'ripen' before having it removed.

When you have cataract surgery will depend on how the cataracts are affecting your sight. For example, if your vision is affecting your everyday life, such as working, driving or reading this may mean that it is the right time for you to have surgery.

Complications from cataract surgery are rare, but all surgery has risks, if you aren’t having any problems with your sight you may not need the surgery straight away.

Reasons why your surgery might be delayed

Sometimes your ophthalmologist may want to delay surgery. They might do this if they have concerns about the health of your eye because of another eye condition. If you do have an eye condition, for example glaucoma, complications related to diabetes, age-related macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa, it is often still possible to have successful cataract surgery. If you do have another eye condition as well as your cataracts, having your cataracts removed can help make sure that you have the best sight possible.

If you only have sight only in one eye your ophthalmologist may want to delay surgery for this eye until your vision is worse, so the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks.

It is important in these cases to let your optician or ophthalmology team know if your sight gets worse.

What if I can’t get surgery?

Your hospital may have guidelines about how bad your sight needs to be before you can have surgery.

If you feel your cataract is affecting your everyday life but your hospital has said you can’t have the surgery until your sight worsens, then please get in touch with our Campaigns Team as we would like to hear about this.

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