Extreme Nearsightedness Can Increase Cataract Surgery Risks

July 31, 2017 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Nearsightedness Cataracts Cataract Surgery

An older couple hikingThe team at Byrd Eye Clinic has helped countless people experience improved and restored vision using the latest in vision correction treatments. Our Detroit eye clinic is always focused on improving eyesight and enhancing overall ocular health in our patients.

For people who develop cataracts, there are many cataract treatment options available. Multiple options allows us to address possible risk and complications that may arise when treating a patient. This is important to consider when a person suffers from extreme or high myopia (nearsightedness). Let's explore this issue below.

About Cataracts

Cataracts refer to a clouding of the naturally clear lens of the eye. When the lens of the eye clouds over, this can lead to blurry vision, gradual vision loss, and eventual blindness.

Cataracts can be caused by a wide variety of things, including eye injuries, long-term UV ray exposure, the use of certain medications, and so forth. Many people wind up developing cataracts later in life, typically as a result of long-term wear and tear on the eyes.

Defining High Myopia

High myopia refers to a condition of extreme nearsightedness. This means people with whose nearsightedness is -10 diopters or more. This level of myopia can lead to a number of issues with day-to-day life, and it can also cause problems with regard to cataract removal surgery.

Common Risks to Consider

People who suffer from high myopia run a number of risks with regard to cataracts and cataract surgery:

  • Cataracts More Likely to Develop – People who suffer from high myopia are more likely to suffer from cataracts later in life. This is especially true of people whose high myopia develops before the age of 20.

  • Cataract Surgery Is More Complicated – People who suffer from high myopia face a number of complicated issues when the actual cataract surgery is performed. A number of eye conditions may occur during the cataract surgery, and determining the proper replacement lens for the surgery can also prove difficult.

  • Higher Risk of Retinal Detachment – People with high myopia run a greater risk of retinal detachment during surgery and after surgery due to the shape of their eyes. This means a risk of vision loss if certain precautions are not considered.

Do I Need Cataract Surgery?

Not necessarily.

Cataracts often develop over time, gradually clouding over the lens of the eye. In early stages of cataracts, the vision impairment may be minor, requiring only glasses and corrective lenses to improve vision. An eye care specialist can determine if cataract surgery is ideal or if a patient can get by for the moment without the need for the surgical procedure.

How Eye Surgeons Account for These Risks

Given the heightened risk of complications among high myopia patients, eye surgeons must carefully weigh the risks and benefits of performing a surgical procedure. This often means noting the progression of the cataract, the anatomy of the patient's eye, and whether or not it is prudent to perform a cataract removal.

If a cataract is caught early, an eye care specialist may stress tips for preventing the progression of the cataract. This helps avoid the need for surgery and allows the patient to improve their general wellness and eye health on their own.

Contact Byrd Eye Clinic

For more information about treating cataracts and improving your overall health and wellness, be sure to contact our eye care specialists today. The team at Byrd Eye Clinic is here to help you see clearly and experience clear and healthy vision.

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