Cataract surgery is needed when your vision is not as good as you’d like, and, your eye doctor feels that the elective procedure would help. In cases of diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, there may be other factors that weigh in to the decision of having cataract surgery.
Cataracts are usually elective surgery. While insurance does cover most cataract surgery, there are a few criteria for having the operation. Most of the criteria are based on certain vision measurements taken at your eye doctor’s office. Your visual acuity, with or without glasses, may simply be bad enough to qualify you for surgery. Sometimes your daylight vision is fine, but you may suffer from significant glare when driving at night with oncoming headlights. In addition to vision, your doctor simply needs to affirm the presence of a cataract and likelihood of improvement with surgery.
There is no hurry to having surgery. Unlike a piece of overripe fruit, you really have lots of time. Choose a time when you are ready for surgery and is convenient for the rest of your friends or family; whoever may be helping you.
There is no strain on the other eye. Don’t worry about overworking the other eye while waiting for cataract surgery. There really is not such thing.
Patients with diabetes have some additional concerns regarding the timing of their surgery. If you have a history of diabetic retinopathy, make sure that the diabetic retinopathy is stable at the time of surgery. The only way to assess stability is with a dilated eye exam with your doctor or retina specialist.
While the timing is not that crucial in cases of macular degeneration, the expectations of the operation should be reviewed with the doctor. By definition, patients with macular degeneration already have decreased vision from their retinal disease. Make sure you and your doctor are on par with your expectations after surgery.
What Does This Mean? Cataract surgery can be a life changing event. In most cases, there is likely to be full restoration of vision. The timing of cataract surgery is basically up to you, based upon your own tolerance, or intolerance, of blurry vision.
If you have cataracts, or suspect that you do, I would recommend an examination soon with your eye doctor. Use this visit as a fact finding mission, you’ll be surprised how much there is to learn about cataract surgery. You don’t have to commit to surgery.
Take your time to schedule the surgery. Make sure you are ready.
If you have retinal disease, such as diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration, make sure you and your doctor are “on the same page” about the timing and expectations of the surgery.