Your doctor should suggest cataract surgery only if he or she believes it would benefit you, not just because there is a cataract. However, many cataracts come on slowly, and the person doesn't realize how poor their vision has become. Often people come to have cataract surgery when they can't pass their driver's license - even though they thought they were seeing well! After having the cataract removed, they then realize how poorly they were seeing. Most of the time people are aware they don't see well and want their vision improved.
Sometimes a cataract is removed not to improve the vision but because it is causing another problem such as glaucoma, or because it interferes with another treatment the eye requires, such as laser surgery for diabetic retinal problems. Sometimes a cataract is not removed because there is something else the matter with the eye and removing the cataract would not help the situation The most common procedure used for removing cataracts is called phacoemulsification. A small incision is made in the side of the cornea (the front part of your eye), where your Eye M.D. inserts a tiny instrument that uses high-frequency ultrasound to break up the center of the cloudy lens and carefully suction it out.
After the cloudy lens has been removed, the surgeon will replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant made of plastic, silicone or acrylic. This new, clear lens allows light to pass through and focus properly on the retina. The IOL becomes a permanent part of your eye. In most cases, the IOL is inserted behind the iris, the colored part of your eye, and is called a posterior chamber lens. You will spend a short period of time resting in the outpatient recovery area before you are ready to go home. You will need to have someone drive you home.