Eyes Home > Cataract Treatment

For early symptoms, treatment for a cataract may involve measures such as getting a stronger prescription for eyeglasses or contacts, wearing anti-glare sunglasses, and using magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery may be the only effective treatment. In most cases, cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial one.

Treating Cataracts: An Overview

For early symptoms of cataracts, certain measures may be helpful. However, for most people, the only treatment option is surgery. If your eye care professional finds a cataract, you may not need cataract surgery for several years. In fact, you might never need cataract surgery. Having your vision tested regularly can help you and your eye care professional determine when you might need cataract treatment.

Early Cataract Treatment

Early cataract symptoms may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and, in most cases, replacing it with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is very successful in restoring vision. In fact, it is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States, with over 1 million cataract surgeries done each year.
A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. You and your eye care professional can make this decision together. Once you understand the benefits and risks of surgery, you can make an informed decision about whether this treatment is right for you. In most cases, delaying cataract surgery will not cause long-term damage to your eye or make the surgery more difficult. You do not have to rush into surgery.
Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not cause problems with your vision. For example, a cataract should be removed if it prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. If you choose surgery, your eye care professional may refer you to a specialist to remove the cataract.
If you have cataracts in both eyes that require surgery, the surgery will be performed on each eye at separate times, usually four to eight weeks apart.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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