Can Cataract Surgery Be Done On Both Eyes at the Same Time?
It is estimated that around 400,000 people have Cataract Surgery in the UK every year – on the NHS alone. That’s a lot of people who will, no doubt, have a lot of questions about the procedure as well as cataracts themselves. We’re on a mission to answer all of the common questions about Cataract Surgery, in order to educate and remove the fear and anxiety that is still commonplace with this routine procedure.
With so many being affected by cataracts around the world, this common eye condition can affect people in different ways. For example, cataracts may develop in just one eye (or simply become noticeable in one eye before the other) or in both eyes.
If this is the case for you, then your first question may be: Can I have Cataract Surgery on both eyes at the same time?
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Cataract Surgery – including whether you should wait when you need treatment on both eyes.
Why do cataracts develop?
If you or a loved one have been told that you/they have cataracts, you may be wondering what causes these strange cloudy obstructions in your once-clear eyes. Well, as we mentioned above, cataracts are a completely normal part of the ageing process. They begin to form when the proteins in the lens of the eye break down and clump together, blocking the light from entering your eyes effectively.
Cataracts form over a long period of time and they may not begin to significantly affect your vision for years. However, if they are left to mature for too long, they can be more difficult to remove and can even cause blindness. The only way to prevent the continued development of cataracts is to remove them in surgery.
The procedure is done under general anaesthetic so patients can generally return home the very same day. During the procedure, the cataract-affected lens is removed from the eye and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
How common is it to have cataracts in both eyes?
The development rate and severity of cataracts will be different in every patient – and in every eye. This means that, while cataracts usually appear in both eyes, they may not develop at the same rate or be the same in both eyes.
For this reason, it is possible to notice the effects of cataracts in one eye while you can still see clearly in the other eye. Nonetheless, treatment will still be needed in both eyes. So, let’s get back to the question at hand: Should you have treatment on both eyes at the same time?
Well, as a routine procedure with an extremely high success rate, there may not be a physical reason that you can’t have Cataract Surgery on both eyes at the same time. However, it is generally recommended that you wait for a short time between treatments on each eye.
It can take a number of weeks before your eye is back to functioning at its best. During this time, you may experience blurriness and other side effects that can affect your vision. It is also possible for patients to experience infection following surgery. Therefore, the best way to limit any potential impact on your everyday life during this time is to operate on one eye at a time.
How long should I wait between procedures?
The time needed between surgery on both eyes will differ from patient to patient. This may depend on the recovery time of the first eye as well as the severity of the cataract in the second eye. Furthermore, if you are having Cataract Surgery through the NHS, there may be longer waiting times.
Following your Cataract Surgery at London Vision Clinic, your surgeon and our clinic staff will be on hand to make sure you are as informed as possible regarding your second procedure. This will generally take place once your first eye is healed and your vision has stabilised.