ROME — Pope Francis says he has to have cataract surgery next year.

Francis revealed the news as he bid farewell to prisoners at Rome’s Regina Coeli prison, after he performed the Holy Thursday ritual of washing the feet of 12 people.

Francis, who frequently tells inmates they need to keep hope alive, told them that they must clear their eyes every day so they can see and spread hope. He said cataracts often make it difficult to see. He says “at my age, for example, cataracts come and you don’t see reality well. Next year I have to have an operation.”

He said the same thing happens with life, when disillusionment clouds the soul. Francis urged the inmates to do a daily cleansing of their view on life — a “cataract surgery for the soul” — so they can keep having hope.