Alternatives

Is cataract surgery necessary in my case?

No. Cataract surgery is usually never necessary. It is an elective surgery, which means, you can elect to have it done or not done. Your vision will continue to deteriorate until it becomes so difficult to see that you choose to have cataract surgery.

Rarely, some patients are not suitable for implants. There are two other alternatives for replacing their eye’s lens. One is the use of “cataract glasses”. These are strong, somewhat thick glasses which represent in some ways the simplest methods of lens replacement. These glasses have some fairly marked disadvantages. They abnormally magnify viewed objects and cause major distortion when looking off center. The glasses cannot be used for patients who have a cataract in only one eye since without a corresponding thick lens needed for the other eye a type of “double vision” is produced. The second alternative to the lens implant is the use of a contact lens. This eliminates most of the disadvantages of cataract glasses but has quite a few of its own. Most patients cannot wear contact lenses 24 hours of the day and this, of course, means they must be inserted and removed each day – something often difficult for some older patients whose fingers are less nimble and steady. There are also quite a few patients who simply are never comfortable when wearing contact lenses. An additional problem is that contacts are quite easily lost or torn. Many patients who wear contacts initially will give them up later because they find them too much trouble. Contact lenses can also cause corneal ulcers (infections of the cornea).

A problem with both cataract glasses and contacts is that vision is very poor when they are not being worn even to the point that seeing well enough to find them may be difficult.

It is important to understand that most people who have had an implant lens inserted may still require use of glasses to receive the best vision possible. Just as many people who have never had cataracts or cataract surgery require glasses at least some of the time. However, the glasses would be ordinary glasses not thick “cataract glasses” and vision is usually fairly good (most often very good) even without them. With the application of the most recent technology most of our patients will require glasses only for reading, assuming that a multifocal lens is not used or one eye is not set up for near vision.