For patients who need cataract surgery done in both eyes, most doctors prefer to wait a few days between operating on the first eye and the second eye. But with the increasing popularity of procedures such as LASIK, during which many patients can have both eyes operated on in the same day, more and more people are asking, “Can you get cataract surgery for both eyes at once?”
The answer to this question isn’t straightforward for all practices. Learn why many doctors state that you shouldn’t get cataract surgery for both eyes at once, but others (including those at Eye Center of Texas) think you can and should.
What if I want to get cataract surgery in both eyes at once…?
Patients who live far away from their doctor or who find that visiting doctors to be an intensely stressful experience have good reason to want cataract surgery performed on both eyes at once. In fact, the desire for same-day cataract surgeries on both eyes has gotten so popular that it has its own acronym: SBCS (simultaneous [or sequential] bilateral cataract surgery), also referred to as SB.
Risk is the deterring factor for most doctors who are hesitant to perform SBCS. While cataract surgery is safe and complications from cataract surgery are rare, many doctors are wary that SBCS makes patients more vulnerable to eye infections, some of them potentially blinding.
Another reason some doctors prefer to wait between surgeries is that doing so gives them the opportunity to make adjustments to the procedure on the second eye, which is based on the eye’s reaction to the first eye. Out of concern for the health of your eyes, ECOT still prefers to wait a bit between the two surgeries to ensure their success.
How long do you have to wait between eyes for cataract surgery?
The cataract surgery recovery time varies from patient to patient, but most people are able to adjust to their cataract-less vision in about two weeks. Your doctor will likely want sight from your first eye to recover before performing surgery on the second eye. Following best practices for post-operative cataract surgery care will minimize your recovery time.
(For an example of best practices for post-operative cataract surgery, check out our article that answers the question, “When can I go swimming after cataract surgery?”)
Can cataract surgery be repeated?
Because it requires the removal of your cloudy lens, cataract surgery cannot be reversed or repeated. That said, cataract surgery is one of the safest and most common types of surgery in the nation. However, if a patient discovers they have issues with their replacement lens, they can have their IOL adjusted or changed. For more information on IOLs, read our posts on cataract surgery and multifocal lens pros and cons, monofocal lens implants, and astigmatism-correcting lenses.
What will happen if my cataract is left untreated?
While the question, “Can you get cataract surgery for both eyes at once?” is still up for debate, most doctors will agree that you shouldn’t leave your cataracts untreated; untreated cataracts can lead to total blindness.
That said, not all types of cataract surgery are the same. Eye Center of Texas was one of the first centers to offer bladeless cataract surgery (which is the safest and most precise means of removing cataracts), and the center continues to be a pioneer in cataract surgery treatments.
Considering cataract surgery in Houston? Have questions about cataract surgery costs? Over 300 Houston-area doctors choose to refer their patients to Eye Center of Texas for their vision needs. Call us today at 713-797-1010 or request an appointment online today.