When to Operate, When to Wait

March 1, 2012 | Cataract Healing, Cataract Surgery, Cataract Treatment

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, having caused at least 25 million people to lose their sight.

How do these people lose their sight to cataracts? Simple: the cataract gets so big that it completely interferes with seeing. And, for one reason or another, these people didn’t have access to either surgery or natural alternatives to cataract health.

Given that most people reach for conventional medical approaches rather than alternative natural healing, it’s no surprise that, in the United States, surgery for cataracts is the most commonly performed operation.

But just because the surgery is most common and Medicare covers it, it still doesn’t answer the question:

WHEN should you have the surgery? Should you rush into it? Does delaying surgery hurt or help your chances of improving your vision? Can you postpone surgery while you’re exploring natural approaches?

The answer to these questions depends on whom you ask, and even on what country you live in!

Actually you can find a study to support any position: one study says delaying surgery is harmful; another says delaying surgery will not cause long-term damage or, for that matter, complicate the surgery when you have it.

The U.S. National Eye Institute says you don’t have to rush into surgery.

A 2007 clinical study in Iran compared immediate surgery with delayed surgery for a small group, 220 patients; 74 who decided to have the operation right away. The difference was not significant.

In Canada, cataract surgery is also the most commonly performed operation. In fact, between 1993 and 2003 the number of cataract surgeries doubled! A study tracked people who waited less than six weeks and those who waited more than six months. The results were unclear.

A 2008 study in China discovered the reason for delaying surgery focused on demographics and socioeconomics: age, education, and awareness as well as having insurance and the importance of an annual exam. Many didn’t even know what a cataract was.

In Britain, the number of cataract surgeries per capita is lower than in most developed countries. Yet the main problem that was cited was ?no objective definition of the point in the progression of the disease at which surgery is justified.?

While cataract surgery is probably the most successful surgical procedure performed in the world today, it still has risks.

Some say the risk is minimal, but the fact remains it is major surgery, so risk is involved.

That’s another factor to consider in deciding when ? and if ? to have cataract surgery.

(See the post, Is Cataract Surgery Risk Free?, for more about the surgical risks.)

Ophthalmologist Gary Price Todd, M.D., a pioneer in ophthalmic nutrition who began research studies in Ethiopia in 1974 working with the International Eye, believed that doctors are ?too quick to operate.”

That’s why he recommends waiting until one’s ?visual acuity has deteriorated to the point that the patient is willing to accept the risks along with the benefits.?

He makes this analogy: ?If you were told if you walk across this street you have 1 chance in 100 of being run over and being killed would you do it? The answer is ?no.’ But you would if the only way you can continue your life is if you cross the street; then it’s a risk that you have to accept. You can be on the positive side and say 94% chance that things are going to go great.?

Ultimately, it is your decision.

But the important point is this:

Don’t just wait for your eyesight to get worse until surgery is unavoidable. Instead, delay the surgery while you are taking the steps to promote eye health.

As a first step, Dr. Todd says to delay the surgery 6 months to give natural approaches a chance; then continue to re-evaluate at 6-month intervals.

What you might find is you may never need the surgery.

Isn’t that what most people want? ? Better vision without surgery!

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Comments (10)


  1. Richard Nunez says:

    Dry eyes and cataracts

  2. […] see our earlier posts, Warning Signs of Cataracts and When to Operate, When to Wait. Share and […]

  3. ed nizzico says:

    When to have cataract surgery.My vision with glasses is good and satisfactory as I do lots of reading.Been to Dr. regularly with measurements and tests.Shouldn’t the doctor be the best source to say if and when to have surgery? Shouldn’t there be some indication in the many tests taken that I’m RIPE ?

    • Marty says:

      Waiting until the eye is “ripe” for cataract surgery usually means only one thing:

      You’re waiting until the cataract gets big enough to operate.

      However, if you follow a self healing approach your goal is clear:

      Never let your cataract ripen; never let it grow large where surgery becomes unavoidable.

      How? By taking the actions that promote self healing, many of which are covered in this blog.

  4. Tom Majors says:

    You know I can read what you have written here but until you have people contact me that have cured thier cataracts without surgery then and only then will I listen to what you say here. There are many out here looking to heal thier cataracts without surgery. So there is lots of money to be made by just telling people your products can help them. Show use the real proof!!!

  5. Michael Parker says:

    So what are you offering? A way to reverse or cure

  6. Paul Bellows says:

    Hi everyone, Have 2 cataracts with 1 more advanced than the other. I can see quite fine with eye glass’s 20-30 & 20-40 but at night the road glare does bother me. Just went for my second 4 month follow-up and the Doctor was not as cheerful this time when I told him I had a lot of fear. He told me about the procedure but I’m the one getting whacked not him. He told me to call me if any thing went wrong and the exam went well. Gave me a 4 month appt in Nov. 2013. Do many have this fear about the operation? I have had 4 MI’s, have COPD & Emp along with Diabeties. O2 24/7 so a bit worried.Thanks For any input. PFB

    • Marty says:

      Compared to most other operations, cataract surgery is considered relatively risk free, with only about 4-5% of patients having problems. However, because so many people get cataract surgery each year, that means that there’s more than 25,000 people EVERY YEAR with problems.

      So most people want to avoid it if they can. Here’s where to click to get the detailed information on how you might be able to do that. It’s a natural way to maintain sight with surgery:


  7. […] our earlier posts: Vitamin Deficiencies as a Cause of Cataracts, When to Operate, When to Wait, and Nutrition and Cataracts: This Eye Quiz Can Save Your […]

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