In YOUR opinion, when’s the best time to get cataract surgery?

My sister optimized for far vision, and now she has to wear glasses to see anything up close. Drives her crazy.

I had to have my first cataract surgery because I’d gone blind in one eye! It must have been so slow and gradual that I didn’t really notice until my vision in that eye was just gone. I had the surgery right away, of course. That was long enough ago that corrective lenses were not automatic and very expensive, but I still had lasik surgery benefits in my other eye, so it was o.k. When I got my other eye done 6 or 7 years later, I had a slight enough correction that I didn’t have 20-20 vision but I could pass the DMV eye test.

Heh. I had a week’s worth of drops three times a day, and a month’s worth over two other drops also three times a day.
When my wife had cataract surgery, after her operations to correct her retinal tear, she didn’t have any drops. That was like 15 years ago, and perhaps they thought her eye was so screwed up it didn’t matter.

As noted upthread I have been dealing with very slow-changing cataracts for a few years now; probably 5. 6-monthly ophtho visits document all that. Of course the docs could see them long before I noticed anything.

In the last 3 months the absolute explosion of nighttime and now indoors daytime haloing is astonishing. Halos were detectable a year ago. 6 months ago they were rare, small, and pretty. 3 months ago they graduated to commonplace and vaguely irritating. Now oncoming cars are surrounded by an opaque wall of blue light I can’t see through, except to see another bright light further behind. Unlit objects are simply invisible behind that blue veil. And I live and drive in dense well-lit suburbia. Here at home in the evening the can lights set into my ceiling have obvious halos. In a brightly lit room. That ain’t right.

I’m not far behind @Broomstick in making that visit and I’m quite sure they’ll say “It’s time”, if not “It’s past time. Why didn’t you call us sooner?”

That’s why I’m researching my options now. So if i need to make a decision fast, i have the basic information.

Yes, my doctor thinks i may be unhappy with multi focal lenses for that reason.

That’s not an “of course”. I first started asking if i was developing cataracts a few years ago, and the doctor replied, “yes, but on a scale of 1-10 yours are zero”. Last time i went i said i was sure i was developing cataracts because i kept trying to clean my glasses and it didn’t do any good. But my corrected vision is still 20/20, despite some cataracts. The halo around the headlights is annoying, but doesn’t affect my ability to see where anytime is.

I was the opposite - doc noticed before I did.

I first noticed, in summer 2017, that if I closed my right eye, I could not see as well as I ought to with my left eye. I don’t normally walk around like that, so it hadn’t occurred to me. And my depth perception was just beginning to be wonky.

Doc took one look and said CATARACT. This was perhaps 18 months after I’d had an exam at the optician, where nothing was noted.

I did not notice any kind of haze or fog, until fairly shortly before I had the surgery in 2018. I remember during one pre-op test, I could see much clearer spots with my right eye, but with my left it was a haze of red fog.

I do think in my case that my lack of noticing was because my right eye has always been much stronger, and was compensating, and my brain had adapted to largely ignoring the left eye’s input.

I’ll have to ask her if she developed the posterior capsule opacification (“secondary cataract”). Apparently the younger you are, the likelier you are to develop that.

As a side note: the first opthalmologist (whom I fired) had saId she thought this was largely due to my type 2 diabetes. The second one didn’t think so. I don’t know, doesn’t really matter; hell, it could certainly be related to long-term inhaled steroid use as well. Or maybe I’m just lucky.

My friend, who is almost exactly my age and had hers done maybe a year after mine, has NONE of those risks. She does, however, have a history of ocular toxoplasmosis, and extreme nearsightedness, as well as early macular degeneration. I guess any kind of eye problem can predispose you to getting them early (I was 59, she was 60, when we had our surgeries).

This, and the haloes are my biggest problems. The new glasses I got after seeing the optician in October 2023 have taken quite a bit of time for me to adjust to. I think the changes in my left eye have happened slowly enough that suddenly having new correction was a bit of a shock to my brain. I’ve adjusted to them while driving, but walking around with those glasses on still feels weird. I should probably try some progressive lenses to see what I think about those now, but I am not thrilled with the idea I could spend a boatload of money on glasses I might still hate.

Better to risk progressive glasses now (which cost money, but are easy to replace) than to risk progressive implants which are a bit trickier. My doctor had said that since I had so much trouble with the full-focus progressives, I might not be a candidate for multifocal implants - but since I had managed with the room-distance progressives (much smaller difference - basically I could read, and mostly watch TV, but not drive), it might work out, and it did.

I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the stronger glasses they gave me back in 2017. My right eye was something like -1.5; my left eye HAD been something like -2.5. The glasses had a -5 for the left eye. That was a challenge (though I did adapt okay after a bit). As you noted though, walking around with them - e.g. if I went into a store - was fairly tough - I tended to just take 'em off and manage with no glasses at all!

Another general comment on “when”: They used to insist that the cataract had to “ripen”. Something about removing the old lens being easier if it had hardened more? Nowadays they no longer advise that. So I imagine the official advice is “as soon as you qualify”.

Me, too - by about 4 or 5 in the afternoon my eyes decide to stop cooperating and I’m left with double vision. To the point most evenings I’m doing things with one eye closed. If I have to drive that late in the day I’m pretty much forced to do so with just one eye.

Talking to people in real life there seems to be this weird disbelief that I genuinely do not care if I need to continue to wear glasses after this. Glasses have never been a burden for me, they’re actually liberating because without them I am functionally blind - can’t drive, can’t watch a movie or TV, can’t even read without them. Right now I’m not getting proper vision even with glasses.

Most of what I do in life is either on the computer or closer. About the only thing I’ve ever done utilizing a lot of far vision was flying. Don’t know if I’ll ever use my pilot’s license again, but if I do I can wear glasses for that just like I did in the past.

Monovision does degrade your depth perception, and my depth perception has never been great anyway and I’d prefer not to lose any of it.

I’ve had those for (counts on fingers) 14 years now and I’ve adapted quite well to them. (the two-pair system was for the 5 years prior to that as the optician was reluctant to have someone “so young” in bifocals).

Having worn glasses for the past 50 years I am confident that even if I wind up with a pair for distance and maybe use readers for extreme close up work I’ll be OK with that. In fact, it will feel genuinely weird to not have to wear them at all for some things.

What I do not seem to have tolerance for is eyes that see at different distances. Thinking back, I was off to the eye doctor when there was even a slight variance between them.

When I had my retina surgery it was 4 different drops, two on a twice a day schedule and 2 on a four times a day schedule, for three weeks.

They apparently have a new one that combines several medications into one drop but I can’t use it because I’m allergic to one of the components. So… three drops four times a day. >sigh< I’m kind of terrible at dealing with eye drops, I wind up wearing half of them.

Yeah. If the idea is to minimize how much I wear glasses that’s the wrong way to do it for me. As I told the doc, I don’t care if I have to wear glasses afterward, and in fact the constant drumbeat on the informational videos I watched of “I don’t need glasses!” was kind of off-putting to me. For me the goal isn’t to go without glasses, it’s to get the best possible vision for me. I don’t have a problem if that includes glasses.

No, it’s not - your glare/starbursts/halos are worse than mine in my bad eye based on your descriptions. You really do need to make that visit.

Yeah, I’ve been doing the “oh, there’s a smudge on my glasses… oh, wait, no there’s not, that’s my eye doing the smudging” thing for about 6 weeks now.

In my case the cataract in my right eye is accelerating rapidly due to the surgery I had on that eye back in March. It all sort of sucks, the little kid in me wants to jump up and down and scream “I DON’T WANNA HAVE SURGERY!!!”, and I keep telling myself that after this is all done I’ll be better off than before.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to fit this in with the rest of my life. I’ve a camping trip in August that means a lot to me and as I told those folks I am NOT recovering from this sort of surgery in the woods. I also need to visit my sister in New York State, which will probably involve (commercial) flying and apparently being far from your surgeon post-op is not a good idea so I want to get that done before the surgery and recovery period. So the current plan is late September.

I think it’s more that the pressure change from flying isn’t wise when your eye is recovering.

I asked that question, and was told it was not a problem. (A little googling suggests the same) But she’s right that you want to be near your ophthalmologist for the week after surgery, just in case something arises.

FWIW, that’s exactly what I would have said ~3 months ago. 6 months ago for sure.

I’m not trying to bicker here. Just alerting you to the possibility that your currently accurate perception of your current condition may change faster than you had expected versus your historical rate of deterioration.

It certainly caught me off guard. My own next scheduled exam is 2 months away and I’m debating trying to move that up. In fact I just decided to call today for sure; 10 weeks to even get looked at to then begin to schedule a cataract workup to eventually have surgery during the busiest time of year around here is now too long given my present rate of change.

In hindsight I should have done that move-up awhile ago; by now there’s not much time in play given their normal appointment backlog.

Yeah. I know several people who have had cataracts develop fast. But sometimes they progress slowly. I’m doing my research now in case i need to do something quickly.

I found a doctor, did a preliminary set of exams, and she sent me home with three sets of contact lenses and instructions to experiment with both mono vision and same-strength vision.

I’m leaning heavily towards remaining near sighted, and being able to read in bed and trim my nails without glasses.

Almost exactly my father’s experience. It went from cataracts to CATARACTS in just a few months. Even though he had been forewarned a year earlier the speed of the development caught him a little offguard. Luckily they had already gone through the whole process with my step-mother, so had a very good doctor already lined up and it was easy to schedule quickly.

My prior surgery, on my retina, had a “no pressure change” caution on my recovery (I even had a temporary medic alert bracelet).

This surgery it’s about not being too far away from the doctor during recovery.

Quoting myself for context

I called and by great good luck my ophtho had a cancellation for this Monday just 2 workdays from today. So I’ll see them in the morning and get this ball rolling 2+ months sooner than previously planned.

Thanks all for keeping this thread simmering and getting me off my sorry ass. Up top I was of the leading proponents of waiting, but that was before I’d really analyzed how bad it had become.

Great news! Good luck.

My mother in law told her doctor that she wanted to be able to see well enough to tweeze what needed to be tweezed! She does wear glasses all the time.

I do most of my reading on my Kindle - between font size and backligting, I don’t need glasses. Reading a book on paper is kind of a hassle! I’ve be known to buy a book (to support a, bookstore) then rebuy it on the kindle to actually read.

I wanted to come back and report on my experience after three weeks.

The first thing, I came down with Covid, so that pushed back the follow-up visit with my doctor by a week. She checked me out, pronounced me healed and wrote a prescription for new glasses. I found a place with same day service, and took the car out that evening for a test.

The difference is incredible. I haven’t seen this clearly in decades. The doctor is ready to go after the other eye, but I have a few other things I need to take care of before I can put myself on the shelf for a couple of weeks.