Can I Get Cataract Surgery On Both Eyes At The Same Time?

Cataracts are one of the most common ocular conditions seen in older patients, affecting more than 24 million Americans who are over the age of 40. Studies show that by the age of 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataract in at least one eye. Unfortunately, it is a progressive condition that cannot be halted, and the only option for patients to be able to see clearly once more is to undergo surgery. If you have been diagnosed with a cataract in both eyes, you are probably already thinking about surgery, particularly if your vision is already significantly compromised.

One of the most common questions that we are asked is whether or not it is possible to get cataract surgery on both eyes at the same time. Here is everything you need to know about this common surgery, including our recommendations as to whether you have the procedure on both eyes at once.

About Cataracts

The natural lens of our eye is a small, transparent disc that is situated in the front of the eye. It refracts light onto the retina, which is used to tell our brain what we can see. When we are young, this lens is clear like glass. However, as we get older, the lens begins to develop cloudy patches that can make it seem as though we are looking through frosted glass. In most instances, this is a natural deterioration in our vision caused by advancing age. However, it is possible for younger people to develop cataracts, often as a result of problems including

  • Recurrent eye infections

  • Exposure to UV light without adequate protection

  • Exposure to radiation

  • Eye injury

  • Extensive use of certain medications

  • Some medical conditions, for example, diabetes

cataract surgery near me

Cataracts also tend to run in families, and if your parents or grandparents were/are affected, there is a greater chance that you will be too.

Symptoms of Cataracts

Aside from blurred or cloudy vision, other symptoms of the condition include:

  • Being dazzled by bright or strong light

  • Seeing double

  • Thinking that everything you are looking at seems darker than it should be

  • Feeling like there is a thin film across your eyes

  • A prescription for glasses or contact lenses that changes regularly, but you still don’t experience a significant improvement in your eyesight

Do cataracts develop in both eyes at once?

Every patient is different and therefore will find that their cataracts develop in a way and at a speed that is unique to them. Although it is possible to develop a cataract only in one eye, in most instances patients find that they experience them in both. However, since they may grow at different rates, you may find that you can see more clearly out of one eye than the other.

Cataract Surgery

Although there are no major health risks associated with cataracts, you will find that your vision becomes increasingly compromised. Unfortunately, there are currently no medications or topical treatments that can delay the progression of cataracts or make them any better. As such, many patients do decide to opt for surgery to treat their cataracts and restore their sight.

Benefits of cataract surgery

Patients who decide to undergo cataract surgery report benefits that include:

  • Reduced glare from bright lights

  • Better tolerance of bright lights

  • They can more easily tell the difference between colors

  • They can see things with better clarity and focus

Can I have both eyes treated for cataracts at the same time?

Although physically there is no reason why you cannot have cataracts in both eyes treated at the same time, it is generally not recommended. This is because it can take a number of weeks for the eyes to heal. During this time, your vision will still be compromised. As with all surgeries, including ocular surgical procedures, there is a small risk of complications. When it comes to cataract surgery, the main concern is a post-surgical infection. If both eyes have been operated on at the same time, you could find yourself with limited vision and trying to deal with problems in both eyes. As such, most surgeons recommend that you opt to have the procedure performed one eye at a time and allow the first to heal fully and your vision to stabilize before having treatment on the other. This normally means a minimum of a few weeks between surgeries.

If you have further questions about cataract surgery and would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to have your eyes assessed by our experienced ophthalmologist, please don’t hesitate to contact our ophthalmology offices in Sunnyside, Queens, NY today.