You’ve been diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes. Your ophthalmologist has told you that at some point they’ll need to be removed by either traditional or laser cataract surgery. You’ve probably heard that it’s usual to only have one eye operated on at a time. But why on earth is that so? Can’t you have them both done at the same time, saving on recovery time, cost, and freeing up the surgeon to carry out more procedures?
It’s a valid question. And while there’s certainly no physical reason why both eyes couldn’t be treated concurrently, there are a bunch of practicalities as to why this often isn’t a good idea.
Read on to discover what they are.
Diagnosis, Evolution, and Cataract Surgery Practicalities
- Reason #1: cataract diagnosis
- Reason #2: cataract evolution
- Reason #3: cataract surgery practicalities
- The exception to the rule
Reason #1: cataract diagnosis
When you’re first diagnosed with a cataract, it might only be in one eye. As long as you’re having regular eye exams it’s unlikely that they’ll be discovered in both eyes at the same time. However, if you’ve been remiss at attending your regular appointments, this might be the case—although they’re likely to be at different stages of evolution.
Reason #2: cataract evolution
Cataracts form and increase at different rates in each eye. They aren’t operated on until they cause significant visual disturbances—something you might hear referred to as being “ripe”. Because one is likely to become ripe before the other, the likelihood of them both being at the treatment stage at the same time is very small.
Reason #3: cataract surgery practicalities
The practicalities of dual eye cataract surgery are the main reason why it’s unlikely that both will be operated on at the same time. While many people do experience better vision within hours of the procedure, the healing process does take 6-12 weeks. During this time, you might experience blurred vision or other eyesight issues as you adapt to your new normal.
You also have to wear an eye patch for the first 24 hours. If you had one over both eyes, then you’d effectively be blind during this time.
The exception to the rule
Despite all of the above, there are situations where people undergo a cataract operation on both eyes simultaneously. If both cataracts are ripe and—very importantly—you’re considered to be at very low risk of complications, then it might be suggested that they’re done on the same day.
This is a procedure known as Immediate Sequential Bilateral Cataract Surgery (ISBCS). It’s important to stress that this is the exception, rather than the rule. It’s most usual to have a second operation for the other eye no sooner than 6-12 weeks after the first successful procedure.
If your ophthalmologist does consider you to be a candidate for ISBCS, this will be discussed with you. The pros and cons will be explained and, ultimately, you’ll be the one who decides as to whether this is right for you.
Got Cataracts? Contact the West Boca Eye Center for the Most Advanced Treatment
While you can read and learn a bunch about cataracts and the surgical procedure to cure them, getting an expert opinion that addresses your personal needs is the best way forward. Whether you’re worried about cataracts, have been diagnosed and are being monitored, or you’re at the stage when surgery is imminent, you’ll surely want the ultimate treatment.
At the academic-grade WBEC clinic, you’re assured of world-class treatment and the most cutting-edge procedures available.
Find out more at our cataract surgery services page and call today for a no-obligation discussion.