• How can I help elderly patient who doesn’t want cataract surgery?


    Question:

    I am a nurse working with the elderly and provide hands-on-care in a long- term care facility. We have a 98-year-old woman who refuses cataract surgery. Are there any tips for our staff to maintain quality of life for her and similar residents? For example, could sunglasses help reduce light sensitivity?


    Answer:

    The treatment for a cataract is cataract surgery. If a patient refuses cataract surgery or is unable to have cataract surgery for other reasons, the options are very limited.  Simply using sunglasses in this type of patient is not likely to enhance quality of life. This situation may be handled by low vision techniques to enhance abilities in the setting of poor vision. These techniques may include reading aids such as special magnifiers and lighting or other devices.  It can also include tinted lenses to enhance contrast in certain situations. These interventions are customized based on each patient’s diagnosis and needs. A low vision specialist can help devise a plan.

    Depending on her abilities and access to technology, there are also many apps and features available on smartphones and tablets that can help those with low vision.


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