Cataract surgery is an operation to remove your eye’s lens when it is cloudy. The procedure removes the lens of your eye and, in most cases, replaces it with an artificial lens. Normally, the lens of your eye is clear. A cataract causes the lens to become cloudy, which eventually affects your vision.
The purpose of your lens is to bend (refract) light rays that come into the eye to help you see. Your own lens should be clear, but with a cataract it is cloudy. Having a cataract can be like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things may look blurry, hazy or less colorful.
The only way to remove a cataract is with surgery. Your ophthalmologist will recommend removing a cataract when it keeps you from doing things you want or need to do.
During cataract surgery, your cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. That lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL). Your ophthalmologist will talk with you about IOLs and how they work.
Who Should Have Surgery?
If you have a cataract, that doesn’t always mean you need surgery. You may not even notice any change in your vision. Some people who have this condition see just fine if they wear prescription glasses, use a magnifying lens, or rely on brighter lighting.
But as cataracts grow, they can cause more symptoms. You could have dim or blurred vision. You may also have double vision when you look at things through the eye with the cataract. These problems can make it hard to read, work on a computer, and do anything else that calls for clear eyesight.
You may have poor night vision and find it harder to drive when it’s dark. You may be sensitive to glare from headlights. People with advanced cataracts can even fail the vision part of a driver’s test.
Cataracts can make you more sensitive to glare from the sun. You might see a halo around bright lights. This can keep you from being outdoors as much as you’d like. It also makes it harder to play some sports, such as skiing or golf.
If you have any of these symptoms, surgery could help.
Sometimes you might need to get surgery even if your cataract doesn’t bother you. Your doctor may suggest it if the cataract is large enough to crowd the inside of the eye, which can lead to increasing pressure in the eye.