Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss. Cataracts are clusters of protein that buildup on the lens of the eye, causing it to be clouded, rather than clear. In their early stages, cataracts can usually be managed with medication and prescription glasses. However, as cataracts worsen, surgery will likely be required.
Cataract surgery replaces the natural lens of the eye with an intraocular lens, or IOL. Cataract surgery carries minimal degree of risk, and recovery is fairly quick. Our patients often wonder if cataract surgery is performed on both eyes. Dr. Raul Peña can determine if his Harlingen, TX, patients require bilateral cataract surgery, and, if so, what the process will be like.
Do Cataracts Affect Both Eyes?
The lens of the eye is a thin, flexible layer of tissues that focuses light that passes through the eye so that the retina can produce clear, sharp images. As a person ages, the lens of the eye changes. It is common for the lens to thicken, become less flexible, and less transparent. Eventually the tissues of the lens will begin to break down. As tissues are broken down, they form clumps of proteins that stick to the lens of the eye and cause it to become clouded.
It is possible for a cataract to develop on just one eye, but it is not very common. Usually, both eyes are affected by cataracts. However, cataracts do not always develop in the same way, or at the same rate. Because cataracts can develop differently, our Harlingen patients do not always require cataract surgery on both eyes.
If I Need Bilateral Cataract Surgery, Are Both Eyes Treated at the Same Time?
Although cataracts frequently develop at a different rate, it is not unusual for both eyes to suffer vision impairment caused by cataracts. In these cases, patients are likely to require bilateral cataract surgery, or cataract surgery on both eyes.
Even if cataract surgery is required on both eyes, the procedures are typically not performed on the same day. Instead, Dr. Peña performs surgery on one eye (either the one with the more advanced cataract, or the dominant eye) and then the patient returns for the second cataract procedure a few weeks after the first.
Why Are Procedures Performed on Different Days?
There are several reasons that Dr. Peña chooses not to perform bilateral cataract surgery on the same day. First, although the risks of cataract surgery are minimal, we must consider the chance that a complication could occur. If the eye were to become infected or be affected by another surgical complication, it is much easier to manage if only one eye has been treated.
Another benefit to spacing out cataract surgery procedures is that it allows Dr. Peña to observe the results of the first treatment, and take that into account when planning the second procedure. For instance, Dr. Peña may alter the type of IOL that is placed in the second eye, depending on the results of the first cataract procedure.
Finally, it is generally easier for our Harlingen patients to recover from cataract surgery when only one eye has been treated. We find that it is beneficial to let one eye heal completely before treating the second.
Contact Peña Eye Institute
Cataract surgery effectively restores clear vision for those suffering from blurry or cloudy vision due to cataracts. If cataracts are compromising your vision and you’d like to find out if cataract surgery can help, send us a message online, or call (956) 264-1200 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Raul Peña.