Cataracts, the natural eye lens clouding, are common age-related conditions. An estimated half of all individuals by age 80 will have or have already had cataracts. As the clear lens becomes opaque, it’s like trying to look at the world through a foggy window, impairing vision and affecting daily life.
When is Cataract Surgery Recommended?
The decision to undergo cataract surgery typically comes when this condition interferes with everyday activities and quality of life. The surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear synthetic one.
But contrary to some assumptions, there’s no need to wait for the cataract to reach a particular “stage” before opting for surgery. If you’re experiencing significant vision problems due to cataracts, consider surgery.
Signs Indicating the Need for Cataract Surgery
- Difficulty Reading in Adequate Lighting: This is often one of the earliest symptoms of cataracts. Patients need brighter lights to read and perform other close-up tasks. This is because the clouded lens does not allow as much light to reach the retina at the back of the eye.
- Glasses No Longer Work: As cataracts progress, they can alter the eye’s refractive index. This means that even with glasses, patients may be unable to see clearly because the eye’s lens can no longer adequately focus light onto the retina.
- Significant Change in Glasses’ Prescription: Cataracts can cause frequent and substantial changes in vision. This may require patients to frequently update their glasses or contact lenses prescription, even over a relatively short timeframe.
- Increased Sensitivity to Glare off Shiny Surfaces: Glare sensitivity is expected as the cataract scatters light that enters the eye. Shiny surfaces or bright lights can cause discomfort and make seeing difficult.
- Trouble with Night Driving: Cataracts can cause halos or starbursts around bright night lights, making driving safely after dark challenging. This is one of the most common reasons people seek cataract surgery.
- Difficulty Doing Tasks and Activities: As vision worsens, performing routine tasks may become more complex. This could include anything from cooking and cleaning to more detailed tasks like sewing or reading small print.
- Yellowish or Brownish Tint: Over time, the proteins that make up the eye’s lens can be yellow or brown. This can lead to a tint in your vision, making it harder to differentiate between blues and purples.
- Colors Looking Faded: This relates to the yellow or brownish tint some people with cataracts experience. Colors may appear less bright or vibrant than they used to.
- Frequent Prescription Changes: As aforementioned, cataracts can cause the need for frequent changes in glasses or contact lenses prescription, indicating a rapidly progressing condition.
- Double Vision: People with cataracts might sometimes experience double vision in one eye. This tends to occur in the advanced stages of cataracts.
- Seeing Halos Around Lights: This symptom might become particularly noticeable when driving at night, as bright lights like oncoming headlights or streetlights can create a halo effect, which can be off-putting.
- Poor Color Perception: With worsening cataracts, colors may appear less vibrant than they once were. Everything might seem to have a faded or bleached look, impacting color perception.
All these symptoms could be signs that cataract surgery might be beneficial. However, not everyone with cataracts experiences all these symptoms; some may experience other symptoms not listed here. Therefore, it is important to consult with an eye care professional if you notice any changes in your vision.
About the Surgery
Cataract surgery is a routine procedure performed by an ophthalmologist. It typically takes less than an hour and is carried out under local anesthesia, meaning you’ll be awake without pain. Here is a simplified step-by-step description of the process:
- Anesthesia and Prepping: First, you’ll receive eye drops to dilate your pupil and local anesthetics to numb the area. Sometimes, a sedative may also be administered to help you relax.
- Incision and Lens Removal: The surgeon will make a small incision in the cornea and use a high-frequency ultrasound device to break the cloudy lens into small fragments. These pieces are then carefully removed from the eye using suction.
- Lens Implant: Once the cataract is removed, a clear, plastic artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL), is inserted into the exact location of the original lens. The IOL is folded when inserted and unfolds once it’s in place.
- Closing Up: Usually, the incision is small enough that stitches aren’t needed. The eye naturally seals itself and begins the healing process.
Why You Need to Consider Cataract Surgery
- Restored Clear Vision: The most immediate and significant benefit of cataract surgery is improved vision. After surgery, the world will seem brighter, and details will be much more precise.
- Improved Quality of Life: With clear vision, you can return to your everyday activities, such as reading, driving, hobby work, or simply enjoying the outdoors.
- Decreased Dependence on Glasses: With the insertion of an IOL, your dependence on glasses can be significantly reduced. In some cases, especially when multifocal IOLs are used, individuals may not need glasses at all.
- Safe and Effective: Cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest surgical procedures performed worldwide, with a success rate of over 95%.
Discussing with your healthcare professional is essential before undergoing any surgical procedure. They can provide a comprehensive understanding of the process and expected outcomes.
What to do if You Experience These Symptoms
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, seeking help is important. At Garibaldi Eye Care, we provide comprehensive consultations and examinations to assess and recommend treatments based on individual patient needs.
Why Choose Garibaldi Eye Care
Choosing where to have your cataract surgery is an essential decision. We emphasize providing comprehensive, personalized, and professional care at Garibaldi Eye Care. Our experienced staff leverages the latest technology in delivering eye care, ensuring you have the best outcome for your vision needs. If you need cataract surgery, don’t hesitate to contact us for an appointment. Let us be your clear choice for crystal clear vision.