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Cataract Treatment: Is Surgery The Only Answer?


At this time — and for the foreseeable future — cataract surgery is the only viable treatment for cataracts.

Though some evidence suggests a healthy diet may help prevent cataracts, making healthful dietary or lifestyle changes will not reverse cataracts once they are present.

Researchers are investigating whether it is possible to develop eye drops that can prevent or cure cataracts, but these studies are in very early stages. It is impossible to predict when such a treatment might be available and whether it will be as effective as cataract surgery to restore vision.

In addition to restoring vision that has been lost due to cataracts, cataract surgery can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism with the intraocular lens (IOL) that is implanted in the eye after the cataract is removed.

This means that in addition to restoring clear vision, modern cataract surgery can also reduce your need for eyeglasses or contact lenses after the procedure.

There even are multifocal IOLs and accommodating IOLs that can be used during cataract surgery to treat the normal age-related loss of near vision called presbyopia and thereby reduce your need for reading glasses.

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Dr. Vance ThompsonAbout the Reviewer: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.

Page updated August 2017


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