Surgery for cataracts involves removing all or part of the lens and replacing it with an implant. Cataract removal is the most frequently performed surgery in people over age 65 and is considered by many doctors to be the most effective surgical procedure in all of medicine.
If the eye is normal except for the cataract, surgery will improve vision in more than 95 percent of cases. Because the implant is designed to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, 85 percent of people undergoing cataract surgery achieve at least 20/40 vision--good enough to drive a car--one year after the operation. (People with 20/40 vision are able to see at 20 feet what a person with normal vision can see at 40 feet.) After cataract surgery, however, most people will still need to wear glasses to read small print or do close handwork.
Significant postsurgical complications occur in only 1 percent to 2 percent of operations and include inflammation, infection, bleeding, swelling, retinal detachment, and glaucoma. People with other eye diseases and serious medical problems are most at risk for complications.
This section has more on: