What is the Treatment for Cataracts?

Once a cataract has been diagnosed, a decision needs to be made on what the best treatment will be. This is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on both the severity of the cataract and the ability or inability to perform day-to-day activities.

Cataract Treatments

There are ways for eye care providers to help clear vision for those with cataracts, but these are usually only temporary fixes. Preliminary treatments include:

  • Changing eyeglass prescriptions
  • Increasing lighting when reading
  • Using a magnifying lens
  • Wearing sunglasses when outdoors (slows progression)

If these treatment modalities do not work, then surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace with a clear artificial lens may be the next step

When Should I Consider Surgery?

Cataract surgery is an elective procedure so it should be a discussion between you and your eye care provider. Typically it will be based on the ability to perform daily life activities or hobbies, i.e., cooking, reading, sewing, or even playing golf.

The legal vision requirements for driving may also have to be considered. For the DC/VA/MD area 20/40 is the legal vision requirement to drive. That is with or without glasses and in one or both eyes. If this requirement is not met, then surgery may be considered necessary to continue to drive.
Another reason to consider surgery is if the cataract is impeding the doctor’s ability to assess other eye related problems.


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Nicole Swistak is an Optometrist with 12 years of experience in primary eye care. She has worked alongside our nation’s armed forces and volunteers with local free clinics.