Melbourne: when is your cataract “ripe” or ready for surgery?
A cataract is a cloudy or hazy natural lens of the eye. All cataracts are not created equally. They come in many different locations, densities, and may cause a variety of different symptoms. Some of the symptoms can include blurry vision, poor nighttime vision, glare, halos, poor vision that can not be corrected by spectacles, and reduced contrast sensitivity requiring brighter lights to read small print. Only you, as a patient, can let your eye surgeon know how the cataract is impacting your daily life. Only an experienced ophthalmologist or optometrist can diagnose you with cataracts and can give you an idea of its density and location. This combination of knowledge, shared experience, and a complete understanding of the situation can lead to an informed decision about the correct timing of cataract surgery.
In short, a cataract is “ripe” or ready for surgery when the benefit of surgery outweighs the potential risks associated with the procedure. The benefit of surgery is partly determined by the impact that the cataract has on your life. Is it preventing you from driving at night due to glare? Do you have difficulty reading the menu at a dimly lit restaurant? Are you suffering from light sensitivity and halos on a bright afternoon? Are you unhappy with your current vision in spectacles or are you frequently changing your spectacles? Cataract surgery can improve the quality of your life by increasing your vision and improving the quality of your vision. It can even reduce your dependence on spectacles.
As an experienced cataract surgeon, I will go though the usual risks of cataract surgery and any specific risks that pertain to your eye. Specific risks may be present if you have a very dense cataract, pupils that do not dilate well, if you take or have taken certain medications (blood thinners or medications for your prostate), or if you have coexisting pathology (pseudoexfoliation, glaucoma, diabetes, or Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy). If you have an increased risk profile, it will be discussed fully during your evaluation, so you can make an informed decision.
My job is to help patients understand their unique situation and determine if surgery will help them achieve their visual goals. If a patient has a complete understanding of their potential risks and has realistic expectations about potential outcomes, then a good well-informed decision can be made.
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