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Should Patients Simultaneously Undergo Cataract Surgery on Both Eyes?

Cataracts often affect both eyes if they are age-related. Studies indicate that more people will be diagnosed with cataracts in one or both eyes by age 80.
 
Usually, surgery is performed to replace your clouded endogenic lens with artificial intraocular lens. For both eyes, bilateral surgery can be carried out simultaneously on the same day or a few weeks between surgeries.
 
In a recent Cochrane review, they discovered that performing cataract surgery on both eyes the same day or a few days apart produced the same results. However, same-day bilateral surgery could have some consequences.
 
The benefits and drawbacks of this approach include:
 
Benefits

  • Minimal clinic visits
  • Lower procedural costs
  • Faster vision recovery for both eyes

Drawbacks

  • There’s the risk of simultaneous postoperative complications in both eyes.
  • It’s impossible to utilize the same visual acuity on both operations.

If you have cataracts in both eyes, surgery is usually performed on one eye, and then a few weeks later, it’s performed on the second eye. This allows the first eye to recover and your vision to become normal before surgery is performed on the next eye.
 
Even though there may be some benefits, many cataract surgeons are reluctant to perform cataract surgery on both eyes simultaneously. The risk of eye infection and other serious complications from cataract surgery is very low. Nevertheless, if both eyes were to become infected or experience complications at the same time, the results could be visually overwhelming for a period and could possibly affect your vision permanently.
 
A benefit of performing cataract surgery on each eye with time in between allows you and your doctor to evaluate the visual outcome of the first surgery, which might effect choices made for the second surgery.
 
During your pre-operative eye exam, ask your eye doctor or cataract surgeon to discuss the pros and cons of all your cataract surgery options to determine the best choices for your particular needs.

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