Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions to affect older people, with the American Academy of Ophthalmology estimating that more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older are affected by them. Luckily, they can be safely and effectively treated by surgery, correcting the vision problems that they cause and giving you back your vision. Here’s what you need to know about the surgery and the benefits it can provide.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are a cloudy area that forms on the lens of the eye as a result of proteins clumping together. They can cause vision problems by preventing the lens from sending clear images to the retina. There are several potential causes of cataracts, plus factors that increase the risk of developing them, including smoking, diabetes, radiation therapy, trauma, and the long-term use of steroids.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
Cataracts often develop gradually, and so you may not be aware of the symptoms at first. However, the issues to be wary of include:
- Blurry vision
- Cloudy vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Colors looking faded
- Double vision in the eye that’s affected
- Seeing a halo around lights
- Increased sensitivity to glare and bright lights
- Sunlight seeming too bright
- Having to change your glasses prescription more frequently
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should book an appointment with your eye doctor so that you can be assessed.
What does cataract surgery involve?
Surgery is the most common method of treatment for cataracts. It is a safe and effective procedure, during which the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a new one to restore your vision. This might sound intimidating. However, the process involves little to no discomfort. Surgery is recommended if you are having difficulty doing daily activities such as driving, reading, or focusing on people’s faces. To find a surgeon, you can search for ‘cataract surgery near me’ online.
Before the surgery, you’ll be assessed by a specialist to check the health of your eye, and also have your eye measured for the replacement lens. For the procedure itself, you’ll first be administered eye drops to dilate your pupils, in addition to having anesthetic. The cloudy lens will then be broken up using ultrasound and removed before the new one is inserted. The operation lasts around 30 minutes and is minimally invasive, meaning you can usually return home on the same day.
What are the benefits of having cataract surgery?
There is a huge wealth of benefits to be gained from going ahead with surgery for your cataracts. These include a return to sharp and clear vision, meaning you may not need to wear glasses as much. It will also reduce eye strain because you won’t be struggling to focus when your vision is blurry, as well as preventing glare from bright lights being so bothersome. You may even find that colors appear more vivid. Better eyesight is also associated with improved wellbeing in general, as you are at less risk of falls, injuries and even cognitive decline.