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March 1978

Indications for Cataract Surgery: Psycholinguistic Considerations

Author Affiliations

From the Queen's Medical Center, Honolulu, and the University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Honolulu.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1978;96(3):526-528. doi:10.1001/archopht.1978.03910050294023

With approximately 400,000 cataract operations performed yearly in the United States, that there is no universally accepted set of indications for cataract extraction, other than the fact that a "cataract" is present, is surprising. The reason for this lack of universal agreement on indications for surgery lies in the word itself. "Cataract" is not a distinct clinical entity, as are cancer and syphilis, but is actually a continuum that includes any opacity of the lens, ranging from a small congenital lens opacity without any effect on vision to a completely opaque lens where no view of the fundus is possible. Surgical removal in cases of the latter type of lens opacity is not in question when retinal function is deemed to be normal. However, in a lens opacity of lesser degree, where vision may still be recorded with the standard Snellen figures for distance and the standard Jaeger cards for

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