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September 1979

One Eye Is a Necessity; Two Eyes Are a Luxury: A Commentary

Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(9):1737-1738. doi:10.1001/archopht.1979.01020020295024

To the Editor.  —If one accepts the philosophy that one eye is a necessity and two eyes are a luxury, the indications for cataract surgery take on an entirely different shape, particularly in those patients who are 65 years of age or older and qualify for Medicare. By this manner of thinking we become engaged in holistic ophthalmology where the visual needs and visual functions of the patient are considered rather than the fact that a cataract is there.American ophthalmologists, having been nudged by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW), are now attempting to formulate guidelines for cataract surgery to serve as model criteria for hospital review committees. However, the assessment of visual function in a patient with a cataract is not a simple procedure. It requires an alert and responsive patient who is not recalling what his better eye has seen. He must also understand when

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