Ask the doctor: Do cataracts need to be ripe for surgery?

Q. I think I may have cataracts. I heard somewhere that they need to be ripe before I get surgery. Is that true?

A. The lens of the eye is normally clear and has a consistency that is a bit stiffer than Jell-O. A cataract is a clouding of the lens caused by degradation and clumping of various proteins in the tissue. When that happens, the lens also gets stiffer, and in extreme cases, a lens can get as hard as a rock.

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