When to Get Cataract Surgery

When the lens inside the eye becomes less clear to the point vision is significantly affected, you have a cataract.  “The problem is trying to determine when that point has arrived and you are ready for surgery” says Dr. William Welder of Prairie Vision Center.  There are age related changes that happens to the natural or crystalline lens inside the eye that also need to be accounted for.  Often these normal changes have very little or no affect on vision.  At Prairie Vision Center in Wahpeton and now in Moorhead, one of the major challenges at a comprehensive eye examination is to figure out what kind of effect these changes have on a person’s vision and if any intervention should be made.


Dr. Jace Picken who is also now seeing patients in Moorhead at Prairie Vision Center states that changes in the natural lens are often the source of changes in adult glasses prescriptions.  For a patient with an early cataract, changing the glasses prescription can often give nearly the same benefit as a surgery to remove the cataract.  Drs. Welder and Picken test vision a few different ways to come up with the ultimate treatment options.  Contrast vision (the ability to separate lightly shaded objects), glare vision (the ability to see with confusing light) and best corrected vision (what can be seen with the best possible glasses prescription) are all considered when evaluating a cataract.


At Prairie Vision Center, of all the tests we perform, the most important input comes from patients.  We need them to describe the problems they may be having, even if they are small concerns.  The incorporation of these observations in conjunction with the exam is critical when making decisions about how they will see in the future.  Problems a patient is having combined with the cataract changes in the lens of the eye will determine the time that cataract surgery is most appropriate.  Drs Welder and Picken are both very experienced at determining the best time to make a referral for cataract surgery.

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