Correcting and Clarifying Your Vision: An Optometry Blog

Does Old Age Determine Whether Cataract Surgery Is Possible?

by Troy Simmmons

It's no secret that old age can bring deteriorating vision. Usually, this means that the patient will need to wear reading glasses for close-up work, but sometimes it can also mean the formation of cataracts. Sometimes, this condition does not present itself until a patient is in their advanced years. Does this mean that they are ineligible for surgery, or that they need to take something else into account?

What Is This Condition?

Cataracts form when the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy. This happens when tiny portions of protein "clump" together to form larger deposits. Over time, the situation will develop so much that it might be impossible to see out of the affected eye. However, surgery is very commonplace and very effective in these cases and by far the vast majority of people will be able to recover their vision, when they receive an artificial lens.

When to Go Ahead

Usually, a surgeon will only recommend a cataract procedure when it has developed to such a point that it is causing everyday difficulties. When this happens, it might be difficult to read and driving may be out of the question.

What's Involved?

Cataract surgery is usually conducted on a "day patient" basis and the procedure will only take a matter of minutes in many cases. Recovery is normally fairly quick.

Other Conditions to Bear in Mind

If the patient is in good general health, then even though they may be at an advanced age, the procedure should be successful and recovery relatively fast. It's worth bearing in mind that if any other eye conditions are present (such as age-related macular degeneration), then this may limit the extent to which the patient is able to recover their general sight, or should temper the expectation of results.

There are a number of other conditions which can develop in the eyes of an older patient, such as glaucoma. As this affects the pressure within the eyes, this may make it difficult for the surgeon to perform a cataract replacement operation. Furthermore, there are a few cases where a cataract has advanced to such a stage that it is no longer treatable, but this is very rare.

Analysing Your Case

Ordinarily, cataract surgery is highly successful and is appropriate no matter what your age. Have a word with your optometrist or surgeon to get their proper diagnosis and to see how you should proceed.