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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Cataracts

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with cataracts. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have one more person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions so you don’t forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help, if needed.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more info. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

About Cataracts

  • How do I know if I have a cataract?

About Your Risk of Getting Cataracts

  • Is there anything that puts me at higher risk? Can I lower this risk?
  • How often should I have my eyes checked for cataracts or other eye problems?
  • If I get a cataract in one eye, does that mean I will get a cataract in the other eye?

About Treatment Choices

  • If I get cataracts, should I have surgery right away?
  • Are there any steps I can take to control symptoms?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What steps can I take to delay cataracts or slow their growth?
  • What steps should I take after cataract surgery?

About Surgery and Outlook

  • Will eye surgery make my eyesight the way it was before cataracts?
  • Is my surgery an emergency?
  • What is the success rate for surgery?
  • How many times have you don this surgery?
  • How soon after surgery will I be able to see well enough to go back to work? Drive a car? Go back to full activity?
  • Do you advise that I have surgery now, or can I wait?
  • What type of intraocular lens is best for me?
REFERENCES:

Cataract. American Optometric Association website. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract?sso=y. Accessed February 13, 2019.

Cataracts in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116240/Cataracts-in-adults. Updated November 28, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2017.

Facts about cataract. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Updated September 2015. Accessed February 13, 2019.

Informed consent: obtaining from patients undergoing surgery. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at:http://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated September 14, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2019.

What are cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts. Updated November 9, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2019.

What is a cataract? NIH Senior Health website. Available at: https://nihseniorhealth.gov/cataract/whatisacataract/01.html. Updated January 2013. Accessed May 10, 2017.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD  Last Updated: 2/13/2018