Cataracts - Treatment

No treatment is needed for mild cases of cataracts. If they do not interfere with a patient's vision, they are not treated. If moderate vision problems develop, a stronger eyeglass prescription may be all that is needed.

In more serious cataract cases, surgery may be necessary. Surgery is the only procedure available for treating advanced cases of cataracts. Cataract surgery is relatively simple. By the late 1990s, it was the most frequently performed surgery in the United States.

Cataract surgery can be performed in a doctor's office and usually lasts about an hour. The cloudy lens is removed. An artificial plastic lens is then inserted into the space formerly occupied by the damaged lens. The patient is given antibiotics and steroids after the surgery. The antibiotics protect against infection by bacteria. The steroids help reduce the pain and inflammation caused by the surgery.

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