Previously, we’ve covered the signs for knowing when to have cataract surgery — i.e. when having cataract surgery may improve your quality of life — but can you wait too long to have cataract surgery?
As home to some of the leading cataract surgeons in the nation, the surgeons at Eye Center of Texas often receive variants on this question, including How long can you wait for cataract surgery? or Is it ever too late to have cataract surgery?
Some patients, especially those with little ones, are concerned about how the cataract surgery recovery time will interfere with their lives (although most patients are able to go about their normal day within 24 hours). Others may have recently discovered that they have fast-growing cataracts and want to know how quickly they need to act.
Whatever the reason you’re wondering, “can you wait too long to have cataract surgery?” Eye Center of Texas is here to help. Let’s discuss what it means to put off cataract surgery for too much time.
So, can you wait too long to have cataract surgery?
The short answer to this question would be yes, there does come a point in time when cataract surgery would be more difficult to perform than it would have been previously.
A cataract is typically an age-related eye health issue that is caused by the breakdown of proteins in the lens of the eye. When left untreated, cataracts become denser and further impair vision. If a cataract is left untreated for too long, it becomes what is sometimes called “hyper-mature.”
When this occurs, the cataract has become more dense, more difficult to remove, and more likely to cause complications during surgery.
When this point in time arrives, however, is highly dependent upon a patient’s circumstances, including the preventative measures a patient takes pre- and post-diagnosis, the rapidity of their cataract’s onset, and the underlying cause of the cataract(s), etc.
However, most patients become frustrated by visual impairment (and ready for cataract surgery) long before the cataract reaches a hyper-mature stage. In fact, a 2007 study demonstrated that patients who waited 6 more months than their counterparts to have cataract surgery were more likely to experience falls and to report a decreased quality of life.
Is it better to have cataract surgery early?
If the answer to the question Can you wait too long to have cataract surgery? is “yes,” then when is the right time to have cataract surgery? Again, this will depend on the health of your eye and the nature of your cataracts.
It may also depend on your personal preferences; in their early stages, cataracts may not hinder a patient’s vision to the point that they want surgery. When this occurs, some ophthalmologists may actually recommend that you wait before getting your cataract(s) removed.
However, it’s important that you and your ophthalmologist keep an eye on the progression of the cataract(s)/your eye health once it’s discovered that you’re developing them. Some cataracts can induce glaucoma, while others can make it difficult for your ophthalmologist to check on the health of your retina.
For these and other reasons, the decision to have or not have your cataract(s) removed is one you make with your ophthalmologist should make together.
What is the average age for cataract surgery
While most people are first diagnosed with cataracts in their 40s, the average age for cataract surgery hovers around 65. Recent investigations, however, show that the average age for cataract surgery may actually be decreasing. Regardless, surgeons typically do not recommend that their patients wait until they reach the average age for cataract surgery; they recommend having cataract surgery when the time is right for your eye health and your vision.
Is it possible to have cataract surgery in both eyes at once?
Yes! In recent years, it has become increasingly common for patients to have cataract surgery in both eyes simultaneously. But again, it’s best to make this decision with the help of your ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologists at Eye Center of Texas will be happy to discuss all of your cataract surgery options, from having cataract surgery in both eyes at once to multifocal cataract surgery and more.
Is it time for you to get cataract surgery? Ask the leading cataract surgeons at Eye Center of Texas
If you’ve been wondering “can you wait too long to have cataract surgery?” because your cataracts are impairing your vision, we encourage you to give the trusted Houston ophthalmologists a call.
Our Houston cataract surgeons have performed well over 80,000 successful cataract procedures and have earned a reputation for being some of the best cataract surgeons in the country.
Put your vision and your future in experienced hands. Call 713-797-1010 or contact us online to request an appointment today.
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