A cataract diagnosis does not necessarily mean you need cataract surgery right away. There are many people living with cataracts who only have mild symptoms or who have no symptoms at all.
However, there may come a point when a cataract interferes with your daily life. The only way to treat a cataract is to remove it through surgery.
How do you know when it’s time to consider surgery? Keep reading for signs that your cataract may be too much for you to cope with on your own.
What Is a Cataract?
Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions. Those forty or older are most at risk of developing a cataract.
As you age, the proteins in your eye begin to break down and clump together, forming a cloudy area. The clouding of your eye’s natural lens is referred to as a cataract.
Your eye’s lens is typically transparent. Its primary function is to focus the light on the retina in order to create sharp images.
A clouded lens can impact your vision in a variety of ways, from blurriness to muted colors. Cataracts can develop early due to a variety of factors.
Early development of cataracts can be associated with other medical conditions, such as diabetes. UV exposure and some medications, including corticosteroids, can also increase your risk of developing cataracts early.
What Are the Signs of a Cataract?
Cataracts do not always present symptoms right away. Many people with cataracts are not even aware they have a cataract.
Since cataracts develop gradually, many people do not notice symptoms of the condition until they have advanced. It can be years before a person begins to notice symptoms.
The first symptom people notice is usually blurry, clouded, or diminished vision. Your sight can appear foggy or as if you are constantly looking through dirty glasses.
Double Vision, Glare & Light Sensitivity
You may experience double vision or see glare and halos around lights. Cataracts can also make you sensitive to light.
Colors can appear faded or muddy as well.
When experiencing these symptoms, individuals with cataracts often have difficulty completing regular tasks. For example, glare around headlights and traffic lights can make driving at night challenging and even dangerous.
Those with cataracts may also injure themselves more frequently due to impaired vision. When you can’t see clearly, you’re more likely to fall, even when you’re simply going for a walk or climbing up or down the stairs.
What Is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is the only method to treat a clouding of your eye’s lens and restore clear vision. The surgery to remove a cataract is a straightforward and safe procedure.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed every year in the United States alone. During the procedure, your cataract surgeon removes the clouded lens where your cataract is.
Then, they will replace this with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning you do not have to travel to a hospital to get it done, and you can return home after your surgery.
The recovery time for cataract surgery is short. Most patients notice a dramatic change in their vision within a day of their surgery.
You can return to most normal activities within a few days. With your cataracts removed, you can return to enjoying the activities you love without blurry vision or other symptoms.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about getting a cataract again since it’s impossible for a cataract to form on an IOL.
Choosing an IOL
Before having cataract surgery, you will need to choose an intraocular lens to replace your natural lens during the procedure. There are many options available within two categories: standard and premium.
Standard IOLs are often cheaper but only correct vision at one distance range. If you choose a standard IOL, you will likely need glasses for certain activities.
Premium IOLs, although more expensive, can allow you to experience greater visual freedom after the procedure. Your cataract surgeon will walk you through the process and help you choose an IOL based on your personal lifestyle and vision goals.
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Consider Surgery?
Determining when to get cataract surgery is a decision to be made between you and your cataract surgeon. It is important to consider a few factors when deciding if it is the right time for cataract surgery.
Your doctor will thoroughly evaluate your eyes and goals to help you decide whether surgery is your best option. A cataract diagnosis doesn’t automatically mean you need cataract surgery.
Some people don’t even notice they have a cataract, or their symptoms are so mild that they don’t bother them. Others find that turning on an additional light or updating their glasses prescription can be enough to counteract the cataract.
If you are satisfied with the effects of these simple methods, that may be all you need for the time being. However, because cataracts continue to develop over the years, there usually comes a time when they get in the way of your daily life.
Your eye doctor will likely recommend cataract surgery once your cataract symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life. Surgery may be a good choice if you avoid certain activities like driving or going for a bike ride because of your cataracts.
When a cataract makes it difficult to perform necessary tasks and enjoy your favorite activities, you don’t have to endure it. Cataract surgery can eliminate the source of your frustration and bring your quality of life back to what it was before the cataract.
Has a cataract become too much for you to handle on your own? Schedule an appointment at Takle Eye Group in Griffin, GA, today, to discuss whether cataract surgery is right for you!