How Long Between Cataract Surgery on Each Eye?

A very general answer to how long you’ll need to wait between cataract surgery on each eye is anything from 6-12 weeks.

How Long Between Cataract Surgery on Each Eye?

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation in the world. Millions of successful procedures are carried out each year. However, because the procedure involves making an incision in the delicate eye structures, even if you have cataracts in both eyes, you won’t have the surgery carried out at the same time.

A very general answer to how long you’ll need to wait between cataract surgery on each eye is anything from 6-12 weeks. This allows time for sufficient recovery to the first eye before surgical trauma is inflicted on the other. But—get this… For most people, it’s not such a clear-cut situation.

Read on to discover what you need to know about how long you’ll really need to wait between each cataract operation.

What Determines How Long Between Cataract Surgery on Each Eye?

  • The evolution of the cataracts
  • Associated health conditions
  • Your ophthalmologist’s recommendation

The evolution of the cataracts

In most cases, cataracts take many, many years to form. Some rare exceptions include those that form after an eye injury or childhood (genetic or pediatric) cataracts.

For most people, cataracts take decades to evolve. This means that it’s rare to need an operation to remove them until your late 60s, 70s, or even your 80s. In addition, they don’t form at the same rate in each eye. This is why it’s almost unheard of for your vision to deteriorate equally in both eyes.

The term sometimes used for a cataract that’s ready to be operated on is that it’s “ripe”. This means that it’s causing significant disruption to the normal passage of light through the eye, and you’ll be experiencing symptoms, such as:

  • Blurred, distorted, or double vision.
  • Seeing halos around light sources.
  • Having difficulty seeing in low light.
  • Needing frequent prescription changes.
  • Colors appear faded or have a yellow tinge. 

Once you get to this stage, your eye doctor will recommend surgery to rectify the problem. It’s likely that they’ll be at multiple months, if not years, between cataracts in each eye evolving to this stage.

Associated health conditions

Other medical conditions often need to be taken into consideration before you undergo cataract surgery. 

One prime example is if you have diabetic eye disease. In this case, the condition will need to be stable before cataract surgery takes place. Even if you need a cataract op on both eyes, you’ll most likely have to wait longer between each one to allow for an adequate recovery time. This means that the 6-12 weeks timescale mentioned earlier might not be suitable for you, even in the rare situation that both cataracts have evolved at roughly the same speed.

Your ophthalmologist’s advice

The takeaway is that no two people are the same. The anatomy and physiology of each of us is unique. This means that the amount of time you’ll need to wait between each cataract operation can only be determined by your surgeon.

Therefore, while it’s ok to consider the 6–12-week ballpark figure to be a general timescale, don’t be surprised if you’re given very different advice from your ophthalmologist. 

Get Answers to How Long Between Cataract Surgery on Each Eye & Other FAQs at the Modern Cataract Surgery Clinic

The Modern Cataract Surgery Clinic, part of the West Boca Eye Center, is dedicated to every element of cataract-related care. From straightforward surgery to complex cases (including pediatric cataracts and traumatic cataracts), as well as those with complicated co-existing medical needs, we’re the go-to facility for the best cataract treatment in Florida and the USA.

Led by one of the world’s foremost cataract surgeons—Dr. Brent Bellotte—if you demand the ultimate care for precious eyesight, then there’s no better place to look after your vision.

Discover more at and call today to book an appointment.


Get useful insight and advice in your inbox.

* We don't share your data. See our Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

We have all the advanced services you may need for your treatment.