Why it's done

Cataract surgery is performed to treat cataracts. Cataracts can cause blurry vision and increase the glare from lights. If a cataract makes it difficult for you to carry out your normal activities, your doctor may suggest cataract surgery.

When a cataract interferes with the treatment of another eye problem, cataract surgery may be recommended. For example, doctors may recommend cataract surgery if a cataract makes it difficult for your eye doctor to examine the back of your eye to monitor or treat other eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.

In most cases, waiting to have cataract surgery won't harm your eye, so you have time to consider your options. If your vision is still quite good, you may not need cataract surgery for many years, if ever.

When considering cataract surgery, keep these questions in mind:

  • Can you see to safely do your job and to drive?
  • Do you have problems reading or watching television?
  • Is it difficult to cook, shop, do yardwork, climb stairs or take medications?
  • Do vision problems affect your level of independence?
  • Do bright lights make it more difficult to see?
Sept. 28, 2016
  1. Cataract surgery. American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract/cataract-surgery?sso=y. Accessed May 22, 2016.
  2. Jacobs DS. Cataract in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 19, 2016.
  3. Facts about cataract. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts.asp. Accessed May 22, 2016.
  4. Cataract surgery. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-cataract-surgery. Accessed May 22, 2016.
  5. Cataract in the adult eye PPP. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.aao.org/preferred-practice-pattern/cataract-in-adult-eye-ppp--october-2011. Accessed May 23, 2016.
  6. Shorstein NH, et al. Comparative effectiveness of three prophylactic strategies to prevent clinical macular edema after phacoemulsification surgery. Ophthalmology. 2015;122:2450.