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    Top 6 reasons to refer for cataract surgery

    Objectives range from the obvious to surgical vision correction

    A referral of your patient to a cataract surgeon seems straightforward. You refer when the vision is subjectively affected by lens opacification. But thinking out of the box will enable you to help your patients in ways you may not consider.

    What are the most common reasons to refer a patient for lens replacement?

    1. Visually significant cataract

    This is the obvious reason. When the clinical picture includes significant nuclear sclerosis, cortical and/or posterior subcapsular changes, and is associated with a reported significant loss of vision, refer. See Figure 1.

    Related: An OD shares his perspective on his own cataract surgery

    2. Myopic shift

    Myopic shift is a reason to refer when it results in anisometropia. Nuclear sclerosis, as well as other types of cataracts, can result in a change of the index of refraction and a myopic shift.1,2 If the myopic shift is assymetrical, the refractive error may become significantly different. In some cases, it happens over six months, and the patient’s glasses become expensive and unwearable. Consider referring the patient with a detailed history of the change in manifest refractive and other subjective or objective signs.

    Next: Narrow-angle glaucoma

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...


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