A cataract is one of the most common reasons for blindness. It is the condition of clouding of the lens, which leads to loss of vision. According to statistics, almost 82% of people between the ages of 75 and 82 suffer from cataracts. Cataracts can occur at any stage, but they mostly develop due to the consequence of aging. Cataracts progress very slowly, giving enough time to think about treatment and how best to address the concern. Cataracts can also occur due to injury, genetics, illness, and environmental factors, and these types of cataracts can progress more rapidly. Hence, it is important to understand cataracts’ symptoms to get the treatment as soon as it is warranted.
When is the Right Time to Have Cataract Surgery?
Cataracts can worsen with time, and it can interfere with daily life and lead to vision problems. If it is making it hard to see, read, or enjoy activities clearly, it is time to seek a cataract treatment. Cataracts can initially be managed with polarized sunglasses and magnified prescription eyewear, but these methods will often delay the progression of the cataract and not stall it altogether. Therefore, cataract surgery is the best choice for treating cataracts and improving vision.
The cataract stages are given below:
- One experiences double or multiple vision in one eye
- Vision seems blurry, fuzzy, or cloudy
- A yellowish tint to things due to yellowing of the optical media of the eye
- Poor night vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Lack of contrast
- One may not recognize a change in color brightness, and it appears dull
- Regular change of contacts or prescription glasses
- One faces difficulty in reading
- Clouding of the entire lens and vision will become severely limited
- The significantly impaired vision which does not have access to glasses or contact lenses
The cataract surgery can be performed in either stage of cataract progression. Cataract surgery is considered safe and helps to restore and improve vision. An advanced or late-stage cataract can worsen the vision problem, and it can be more difficult to treat, so it is often considered absolute to intervene before they reach a late stage. The ophthalmologist can help you identify when is the right time for surgery.
The Procedure of Cataract Surgery
A team of experienced eye surgeons performs laser-assisted cataract surgery.
First, the eye is numbed with a few drops of anesthetic eye drops, ensuring that the patient experiences no pain during the surgery. After that, a camera or ultrasound device is placed over the eye that maps the corneal thickness and diagnoses the cloudy lens stages. Afterward, the incision’s depth to be made on the cornea is decided once the information is sent to an adjacent computer. With the computer’s accurate data, the incision is made with the help of the laser probe that goes behind the eye. Due to the laser’s appropriate amount of energy, the lens also softens, which makes it easier for the surgeon to remove the lens. Now, another laser probe is inserted that breaks the cloudy lens and sucks the broken pieces. At last, the doctor implants the intraocular lens is chosen by the patient and the doctor, and then the eye surgeon closes the incision.
Benefits of cataract surgery
With the help of cataract surgery, the vision can be restored with a simple, outpatient procedure. Not only it improves the eyesight, but it also offers other distinct benefits:
- Improves the quality of life- While having difficulty reading or driving at night, one may just gradually stop doing their favorite activities. When cataracts are removed, one can expect to do their favorite activities again, which ultimately improves life quality.
- Helps live longer- Those who had cataract surgery have a 40 percent reduction in mortality risk compared to those who did not have cataract surgery, as it improves visual contrast, which decreases the risk of accidental deaths from driving or falls.
- Decreases the risk of falls and fractures- One of the most common reasons for falling is the loss of vision, which can be dangerous and even fatal for older people. Patients who had cataract surgery have less risk of falling and hip fracture.
Dangers of untreated cataracts
Cataracts are the number one cause of vision loss and blindness around the globe. If it continues to progress without treatment, vision gets worse until the lens of the eye appears clouded and vision is significantly impaired or lost altogether. Untreated cataracts can cause total blindness. Cataracts can become hyper-mature if one waits for too long, making them more difficult to treat and cause surgery complications.
Cataract surgery is necessary if a cataract prevents one from driving at night, reading, or doing the job. Then it’s time to talk to the ophthalmologist immediately to discuss the treatment options. The eye doctor will be able to give the information to decide on your treatment options. Normally, the best outcome for cataract surgery takes place when it is performed soon.