As we age, our cells and tissues start to break down in predictable ways. Some of these familiar age-related ailments include arthritis of the joints, osteoporosis of the bones, and atherosclerosis of the arteries. Changes that occur in the eye as we get older cause proteins to break down and stick together on the eye’s lens, causing cloudy or blurred vision. That’s a cataract.
Cataracts are a common condition that people confront as they age. Cataracts are estimated to be detectable in more than 90% of people by age 65. Each year, more than 2 million people undergo a routine procedure to correct the vision challenges associated with them.
Cataracts often develop slowly. If you are over age 40, you may already have an early-stage cataract but not yet realize it. Symptoms of cataract formation include heightened sensitivity to glare, blurred or cloudy vision, seeing halos around lights (especially at night), double vision, and seeing colors as faded or yellowed.
Your optometrist will monitor the progression of your cataract and help you decide when to schedule the procedure to correct the vision challenges it causes. The process involves removing the eye’s clouded, natural lens and replacing it with an implant that will enable you to see clearly once again.
Cataract correction is a safe, common and highly effective outpatient procedure. Typically, patients visit an outpatient facility for the procedure and go home afterward with a patch over the eye.
The benefits of having this procedure are many:
- Improves Clouded or Blurry Vision
The new lens implant your doctor inserts into the eye during cataract correction will give you high visual acuity. It’s a dramatic improvement that happens quickly: A few days after the procedure, you can often see better than you’ve seen in decades. No more clouded, blurred vision—you’re seeing through a fresh, clear lens as you did in your youth. The difference can be remarkable.
- Glasses May Be Optional
After cataracts are removed and replaced with an artificial lens, you may not need prescription glasses anymore. It depends on the type of artificial lens implant you and your doctor decide best fits your eye’s anatomy and your lifestyle. Thanks to the continually advancing technology of intraocular lens implants, it’s possible for your eyesight to be corrected so that you can perform up-close tasks, see well at a distance, and drive at night—all without corrective lenses.
Many patients no longer need to wear glasses and can see quite sharply and clearly. Depending on the type of intraocular implants your doctor recommends, some people may need to continue wearing reading glasses after the procedure, for up-close tasks.
- Improves Quality of Life
Over many years, your cataracts grew and developed, causing your vision to slowly degrade to the point where you may have changed your lifestyle without realizing it. For example, maybe you stopped playing golf or tennis. Or you stopped doing needlework or reading. Perhaps you no longer drive at night. Once the cataract procedure corrects that diminished vision, you’ll be able to resume the activities you once enjoyed so much!
- Lower Risk of Falls and Accidents
When vision is poor, you have an increased risk for falls or injuries caused by not seeing well. However, when vision is restored after cataract surgery, your risk for such accidents decreases significantly. You can see obstacles and trip hazards and are more visually aware of your surroundings.
- A study from Australia found that people who have cataract procedures enjoy a 40% lower mortality rate than people who leave their cataracts untreated.
- The chance of being in a car accident after cataract correction is 13% lower.
- The cataract procedure decreases your risk of hip fracture by 16%.
- Seeing a Beautiful New World
Because cataracts develop slowly over time, most patients don’t realize how significantly the condition impairs their vision. However, after cataract correction, patients tell us they’ve enjoyed childlike wonder in seeing their world through fresh, clear lenses. It’s like wiping away years of dirt and build-up on a window and letting the sunshine in again. You’ll enjoy seeing things “for the first time, again” with your new and improved vision, including leaves on the trees, sunsets, the ocean, and of course the smiles on loved ones’ faces as you experience a new lease on life because of your corrected vision.
Call us today to make an appointment to discuss how your cataracts are impacting your vision and how that can be corrected.