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Cataracts Health Center

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Cataracts - Surgery

Surgery for cataracts camera.gif involves removing the clouded lens of the eye (the cataract). The lens can be replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant (IOL). Or, if an IOL cannot be used for any reason, it will be left out and contact lenses or, in rare cases, eyeglasses can compensate for its absence. Most people will get an IOL during surgery.

Before surgery, ask your doctor about what types of IOLs can go in your eye. Or, if you will not be getting an IOL, find out why, and ask about the pros and cons of contact lenses or eyeglasses.

Options to help you see better after surgery

  • Intraocular lens (IOL)Intraocular lens (IOL). A variety of IOL types are available. Work with your doctor to choose the best one for you.
  • Contact lensContact lens. You will need to insert, remove, and clean the lenses on a regular basis. A contact lens may not be a good choice for young children or older adults who have a hard time properly placing the lens on the eye.
  • Cataract glasses. Cataract glasses were used for decades when there were no other options for lens replacement. Because they are thick and heavy, they are rarely used now.

For most adults, surgery is only needed when vision loss caused by a cataract affects your quality of life. The goals of surgery in adults who have cataracts include:

  • Improving vision.
  • Helping you return to work, leisure, and other daily activities.
Cataracts: Should I Have Surgery?

The choices for treating cataracts in children depend on how likely the cataracts are to interfere with the development of normal vision. Surgery for cataracts in children may be needed.

Second surgery

For adults who have cataracts in both eyes, surgery is not normally done on both eyes at the same time. The first eye needs to heal. Then your doctor will determine how much eyesight has improved before surgery is done on the second eye.

If you have both glaucoma and cataracts, you may have surgery for both conditions at the same time. Depending on which condition caused the vision loss, vision may improve after surgery.

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