Whilst many older individuals have at some stage been told by their eye care provider that they have cataracts, fewer have had a discussion about the best time to have cataract surgery. This discussion not only requires knowledge of a person’s symptoms, but it also requires a detailed understanding of other, sometimes subtle, eye conditions, which may significantly impact on the timing of surgery. Certain conditions affecting the cornea (the eye’s clear window) or some types of glaucoma may dictate earlier cataract surgery than would be warranted if only the patient’s vision was taken into account. Failure to detect these subtle conditions may result in a greater risk of complications if cataract surgery is delayed.
Cataracts can also affect driving confidence, especially at night when glare and halos from car headlights become significant. Untreated, the cataract can become dense overtime, impairing vision further and requiring a more complex surgical procedure in the future.
The timing of surgery is also dependent on the individual’s level of function and visual demands. In elderly patients, the benefits of cataract surgery extend beyond improved vision. Cataract surgery is associated with reduced mortality (likely due to improved confidence and positive mental health effects), as well as reduced risk of falls.
An ophthalmologist is best placed to advise patients on the timing of surgery, and our eye surgeons offer individualised advice for each patient on the basis of their symptoms, as well as a detailed assessment of their ocular health, which may impact on the timing of cataract surgery done here in Blacktown, for Castle Hill, Parramatta and Western Sydney patients.