Ophthalmologist Questions Cataract Surgery

second eye cataract removal

Is it necessary to have both eyes operated on?

14 Answers

No of course not. Cataract surgery is typically elective
It depends on the “difference” between your eyes and the degree of “lens” dysfunction. It is always better to make your vision the same or similar in both eyes than to allow conflict.
You can hurt your “new” eye by making it try to work with its partner which needs to focus to see when your operated eye needs to rest to heal. Each situation is unique and you should ask about the best strategy to integrate your new eye with its partner.
Cataract surgery is NEVER necessary except in very few situations. Otherwise, it is generally an elective surgery and does not need to be done. I would discuss with your ophthalmologist whether it is an emergency or NECESSARY, and why. Otherwise, I would consider it elective surgery.
No, you don't need both eyes operated on. Sometimes one cataract is much worse than the other and the second eye can be monitored until the cataract worsens and affects your activities and function.


Sean Adrean, MD, FAAO
It is not necessary to get the second eye done now. If there is a big imbalance between your eye prescriptions, you could benefit from second eye surgery. If you see poorly out of the second eye and you're not getting it done because the first eye sees well, that is your choice. The second eye cataract will progress at its own rate and when the sight bothers you, get it done then.
No. But cataracts usually develop in each eye at about the same time, like gray hair. My advice to patients is to have surgery done when the cataracts are preventing you from doing something you need to do or want to do. I also advise that they not wait too long.

I often travel to remote areas on humanitarian visits and see solid black cataracts. These are very difficult to remove and often will cause complications that are not found in cataract surgery on a less dense cataract.

If one eye has a cataract and little appearance of it is seen in the other eye, then there is no urgency toward doing the second eye. As time goes on, it will become obvious and can be removed then.

Roger Ohanesian, MD
Both eyes can be operated on if the vision is diminished and you feel affected by this change in vision. If you are comfortable after one eye has had cataract surgery, it is not mandatory that the other undergo cataract surgery as well. You can wait until you feel your vision is impaired to have cataract surgery on the second eye. Many patients notice the blurring from the unoperated eye very soon after cataract surgery and choose to have surgery on their second eye soon after the first eye.
No, not necessary but many elect to have 2nd eye done because happy with first. No set rule.
Only if the vision in the second eye is limited due to a cataract. Most patients require both, but not always.
Usually when the vision in the second eye drops to less than 20/40, I plan on doing the second eye.
Only if you want to see better and the cataract is limiting your acuity.
You may have surgery done in only one eye, if the other eye sees fine without the corrective glasses. Sometimes if you have to wear high prescription glasses in the fellow eye, you may notice "anisoconia" (perception of two different size with two eyes) and that might be disturbing to you.
Yes it will give him stereoscopic vision
Nope. Especially if your glasses prescription is minimal and you are happy with your vision after the first eye surgery.