Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40. Although not always necessary, cataract surgery can restore the vision lost to cataracts. Knowing the signs and symptoms of cataracts can help you determine when it’s time to see your doctor and when it’s time for cataract surgery.
Some cataracts don’t affect vision at all in the early stages, however, with most cataracts, it seems as though you’re looking through a foggy piece of glass. You may notice that the light from the sun or even lamps is too bright and you may see halos around lights. Colors may not appear as bright as they used to or may seem to have a yellow tint to them. Cataracts can also cause difficulty seeing at night as the cataracts become more advanced.
Although it’s not necessary to remove cataracts that don’t affect your daily life, you want to make sure not to wait too long to have them removed once they have begun to progress. At first, cataracts may be able to be treated with an updated glasses prescription, contacts or other vision aids. As they progress, cataracts make it difficult to read print or signs while driving. If they make it difficult to live your life, it’s time to consider surgery.
Cataract surgery is the most common surgery performed in the U.S. The whole process, including the preparation and post-op recovery time, takes about 1 ½ to 2 hours, and the actual surgery is a quick 15 minutes or less in most cases. The natural, cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). This is a permanent lens and it can reduce or even eliminate the need for glasses based on the lens you choose and your eye needs. Typically, if you have cataracts in both eyes, they will not be removed on the same day. Most surgeons will spread it out over a few weeks to prevent the risk of complications, such as infection, in both eyes.
Knowing the symptoms of cataracts can help you decide when it’s time to have them removed. If cataracts affect your ability to perform daily functions, it’s time for cataract surgery. This simple procedure can have you back to seeing your best in no time.