Cataract surgery in the patient with dementia: justified paternalism?

Insight. 1996 Apr;21(1):9-12. doi: 10.1016/s1060-135x(96)90024-x.


Paternalistic decision making for the incompetent patient involves many ethical and legal issues. In the ophthalmic surgery setting, cataract surgery on the patient with dementia is a potentially harmful act that requires justification on the part of the delegated decision maker. Does the potential outcome of improved vision outweigh the patient's right to self-determination? This discussion covers some of the moral, legal, and ethical issues to be considered in analyzing this dilemma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Beneficence
  • Cataract / complications*
  • Cataract Extraction* / nursing
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Ethics, Nursing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent*
  • Mental Competency*
  • Paternalism*
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Risk Assessment