When should I have cataract surgery, and what will happen if my cataracts are not removed?Eye Health Cataracts
My doctor told me that I will need to have cataract surgery at some point, but it is an elective procedure so I can decide when to schedule the op.
Cataract surgery is not always an elective procedure. Occasionally, a cataract may progress very rapidly to cause severe visual impairment, as well as acute glaucoma.
In these situations, the cataract needs to be removed urgently. In most other cases, cataract surgery is elective because cataract progression is usually very gradual.
You should choose to have your cataracts removed when your vision deteriorates to a stage that it affects your quality of life. This is very dependent on each individual, your occupation and activities you like to do.
If you experience blurring of vision, doubling of vision, dimming of vision or decrease in contrast, especially in low-light conditions, that is preventing you from enjoying your favourite hobbies or sports, you should get your eyes assessed for the need for cataract removal.
If your cataracts are not removed, you will suffer from increasingly poorer vision and in the most severe scenario, the cataract may ‘explode’ to cause an acute glaucoma, which leads to eye redness and pain.
Another important point to note is that cataract removal of a very mature or ‘hard’ cataract is more difficult and complicated than cataract removal of a less dense cataract. Hence, it is ideal to remove it before it gets too ‘hard’.
Dr Claudine Pang
MBBS, MRCSEd, FRCSEd, FAMS (Ophth)
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