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Cataracts - Treatment Overview

Surgery to remove a cataract is the only way to get rid of a cataract. This surgery works well and helps people see better. But surgery is often not needed or can be delayed for months or years. Many people with cataracts get along very well with the help of eyeglasses, contacts, and other vision aids.

Whether surgery is needed for an adult with cataracts depends on the degree of vision loss and whether it affects quality of life and ability to function.

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

Cataracts: Should I Have Surgery?

What to think about

Sometimes a cataract needs to be removed because of another eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration. In some cases the cataract has to be removed so that the eye specialist can treat the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye.

Misconceptions about cataracts are common. More and more medical centers have been built specifically for cataract surgery. Marketing campaigns aimed at older adults may encourage some people to have surgery when they do not really need it. Because of fear of blindness or loss of independence, older adults may think they need to have surgery even when their cataracts do not affect their quality of life. In many cases, wearing eyeglasses or contacts and using other vision aids might be appropriate and just as effective without any of the risks of surgery.

Only you can decide whether a cataract is affecting your vision and your life enough to have surgery. If surgery is not going to improve your vision, you may decide that surgery is not for you.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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