April 01, 2019

When is the right time to have cataracts removed?

Q: My eye doctor asked if I'm ready to have my cataracts removed. They're not bothering me too much. Is it a good idea to just get it done?

A: In general, if your vision isn't bothersome, there's no harm in putting off cataract surgery. But if you begin to struggle, there are numerous benefits to having the procedure done.

Cataract changes

A cataract changes your vision from normal, left, to clouded, right.


A cataract occurs when the naturally clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. Having cataracts is like looking through a dirty or foggy windshield. You may still be able to drive, but the more compromised your view is, the greater your risk of an accident. The same is true with cataracts.

A 2018 study of people with cataracts in both eyes found that participants who had surgery on one eye reduced their risk of car crashes by 61 percent compared with the year before the procedure.

Car accidents aren't the only risk. Research shows that cataracts increase the risk of falls. Surgery improves clarity, color perception and brightness and helps with night vision.