Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Are AMD & Cataract Surgery Compatible?


Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a frustrating condition that diminishes your ability to see detail clearly. When you combine AMD’s loss of central vision with the blurriness from cataracts, you have a recipe for significant vision loss. Can you have cataract surgery to restore some clear vision if you have macular degeneration? The answer is probably yes, but there are some factors that need to be considered first.

Which Condition Impacts Your Vision Most: Cataracts or Macular Degeneration?

Before recommending cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon will want to find out whether most of your vision loss is caused by the cataract or by the AMD. Some people who have a lot of damage to their retina from macular degeneration won’t see much or any vision improvement from cataract surgery. Your ophthalmologist will examine your retina and take photographs to assess its condition. They will also take a look at how cloudy your lens is to see how much vision the cataract may be blocking. And before recommending cataract surgery, your surgeon will check your vision to see if a change in your eyeglass prescription or even low vision magnifiers may be enough to see better. Having cataract surgery with AMD may not restore your ability to do up-close tasks, such as reading. Removing the cataract will allow more light to enter the eye, but that may not be enough for good central vision. We need a clear lens and a healthy retina for sharp vision.

Does Having Cataract Surgery Make Macular Degeneration Worse?

Depending on the type of AMD you have, the answer is not fully known at this point.

If you have the “dry” form of AMD, there is no evidence that cataract surgery will make your AMD worse. However, if you have the “wet” form, it is not clear if cataract surgery will negatively affect your macular degeneration. Cataract surgery causes inflammation inside the eye, which in theory could make wet AMD worse. However, results of multiple studies have been inconsistent, so we don’t know for sure if cataract surgery worsens wet AMD.

Fortunately, for those struggling with the double whammy of vision loss from both AMD and cataracts, studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve vision in those who are candidates for the procedure. If you or someone you know is over 65, please schedule regular eye exams for common senior eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration (AMD) so you can maintain eye health. Schedule an eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or Facebook.

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center is a leading eye care center in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors and eye specialists.