Have you noticed a clouding of your vision or increased difficulty with daily activities like reading or driving? If so, it’s possible that you may be developing cataracts, a common age-related eye condition. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are responsible for nearly half of all cases of blindness worldwide, affecting approximately 65 million people. Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, causing vision impairment that can worsen over time. Several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing cataracts.
These risk factors include aging, genetics, and medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Some lifestyle factors also cause cataracts, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, prolonged sunlight exposure, eye injuries or inflammation, and prolonged use of certain medications like corticosteroids or diuretics.
Fortunately, cataract surgery can effectively restore clear vision and improve your quality of life.
In this article, we’ll explore the signs and stages of cataracts, if you need cataract surgery, and why seeking treatment for this condition is essential. Keep reading to learn more and take the first step towards a better vision.
What are the signs of cataracts?
Cataracts can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Blurred or hazy vision: The lens of the eye becomes cloudy and can cause blurred or hazy vision. This can make it difficult to see clearly, even with glasses or contact lenses.
- Reduced color perception: Cataracts can cause colors to appear faded or yellow, making it difficult to distinguish between different shades and hues.
- Increased glare sensitivity: Bright lights or sunlight can cause increased glare sensitivity and make it difficult to see clearly.
- Poor night vision: Cataracts can make it difficult to see in low light conditions, such as at night, and may cause halos or starbursts around lights.
- Double vision: In some cases, cataracts can cause double vision or multiple images to appear, particularly in one eye.
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions: As cataracts progress, changes in prescription may be necessary to maintain clear vision.
The four stages of cataracts:
Cataracts generally develop slowly over time and can be categorized into four stages of progression:
- Early Stage: In the early stage of cataracts, the clouding of the lens is minimal and may not affect vision significantly. Symptoms may not be noticeable or may include slight blurring of vision and increased sensitivity to glare.
- Moderate Stage: In the moderate stage, cataracts begin to affect vision more noticeably. Vision becomes increasingly blurred, and colors may appear faded. One can also experience difficulty seeing in low light or at night.
- Advanced Stage: In the advanced stage, cataracts significantly impact vision, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as driving, reading, or watching television. One may see halos or glare around lights at night. Double vision may be another symptom of this stage.
- Severe Stage: In the severe stage, cataracts severely impact vision and can cause near-complete blindness. The lens may become completely opaque, and treatment, such as surgery, may be necessary to restore vision.
Can you see cataracts by looking in the mirror?
No, you cannot see cataracts by looking in the mirror. Cataracts form inside the eye and cannot be seen by looking at the eye from the outside. Here at SuraVision, we have sophisticated eye exams with experienced doctors, who are experts in detecting cataracts. During the exam, a range of tests will be performed, including a visual acuity test and a dilated eye exam, to evaluate the health of the eye. If cataracts are detected, our experts at SuraVision can help determine the best treatment options, which may include cataract surgery or updates to your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription.
What will happen if the cataract is left untreated?
Untreated cataracts can cause progressive vision loss and other complications such as glare, halos, double vision, color changes, and increased risk of falls and accidents. In rare cases, they may lead to complications such as glaucoma or inflammation.
Can glasses help with cataracts?
While glasses cannot directly treat cataracts, they can help improve vision and reduce symptoms associated with cataracts, such as glare or blurred vision. In the early stages of cataracts, a change in prescription glasses or contact lenses may be enough to improve vision. However, as cataracts progress, glasses may not be enough to improve vision, and surgery may be necessary. If you’re due for a regular eye exam or suspect you have cataracts, schedule an appointment with SuraVision to receive expert care and determine the best course of treatment. We’re here to help you see clearly and protect your vision for years to come.
Is cataract surgery painful?
Cataract surgery is not painful, as it is performed under local anesthesia. Patients may experience some mild discomfort or a scratchy feeling in the eye after the procedure, but this can be managed with pain medication or prescription eye drops. Most people are able to resume normal activities within a few days to a week after surgery.
What is the average age for needing cataract surgery?
The average age for needing cataract surgery is typically around 65 years old, although cataracts can develop at any age. As we age, the proteins in the lens of the eye can break down and clump together, leading to the development of a cataract. Other factors that can increase the risk of cataracts include diabetes, smoking, family history of cataracts, prolonged exposure to UV radiation, certain medications, and previous eye injury or surgery.
Is it better to have an early surgery?
The decision of whether to have cataract surgery early or wait depends on the severity of the cataract, its impact on vision, and individual circumstances. Cataract surgery is usually recommended when it affects daily activities, such as driving, reading, or seeing faces clearly, but some people may choose to delay surgery if their vision is only mildly affected or if surgery is riskier due to other medical conditions. In these cases, doctors at SuraVision may recommend monitoring the cataract and adjusting the prescription for glasses or contact lenses.
What time of year is best for cataract surgery?
There is no specific time of year that is considered the “best” for cataract surgery, as it can be performed year-round. Patients may choose to schedule their surgery based on personal preferences or medical needs, such as avoiding harsh weather conditions or allergies. It is recommended to discuss your individual needs with our eye doctors at SuraVision and adjust the schedule accordingly, as recovery from cataract surgery typically takes a couple of weeks.
How long are you asleep during cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is usually performed with local anesthesia, allowing patients to be awake and communicate with the surgeon while the eye being operated on is numb. Anesthesia is given through eye drops, and patients should not feel pain or discomfort but may feel slight pressure. General anesthesia may be used if a patient is particularly anxious or cannot tolerate being awake during the surgery. The surgery typically lasts less than an hour, and patients are monitored for a short time after the procedure before being discharged within the well-equipped facilities of SuraVision.
How long is the recovery time for cataract surgery?
The recovery time after cataract surgery varies based on factors like age, overall health, and severity of the cataract. Most people can resume normal activities within a few days to a week after the procedure. Following surgery, the eye will be covered with a protective shield or patch, and eye drops will be prescribed to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. It is important to avoid strenuous activities, rubbing the eye, or getting water or other substances in the eye during the first few days after surgery.
Who should not get cataract surgery?
While cataract surgery is generally safe and effective, there are some cases where the procedure may not be recommended. Patients who have certain medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, or other serious health problems, may need to wait until their condition is under control before undergoing surgery. It’s important to discuss your medical history and any current health issues with your eye doctor or surgeon to determine whether cataract surgery is right for you. Contact SuraVision to schedule an appointment and discuss your options.
According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, cataract surgery has a success rate of over 98%, with most people achieving significantly improved vision following the procedure.
Don’t wait until your cataracts have progressed to an advanced stage before seeking treatment. With early intervention and proper care, you can enjoy clear vision and a better quality of life.
Cataract surgery can help improve your vision and quality of life. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cataracts, as well as the risk factors that can lead to their development. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of cataracts or have a family history of cataracts, feel free to schedule an eye exam with a qualified ophthalmologist at SuraVision, and we’ll determine if cataract surgery is right for you.
Contact us now to schedule an appointment and learn more about how cataract surgery can help you regain clear vision.