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Does Everyone Need to Have Cataract Surgery?

Like gray hair and wrinkles, cataracts are an inevitable part of the aging process. Because of this, there is no way to prevent them.

Eventually, everyone will develop cataracts. The only way to treat a cataract is through cataract surgery. 

Cataract surgery has become one of the most common and effective eye-related procedures available. Keep reading to find out whether or not everyone needs to have cataract surgery!

What Is a Cataract?

When you have a cataract, your lens becomes clouded. Your lens is the transparent front part of your eye. 

As light rays enter your eye, your eye’s natural lens helps to focus them onto your retina, which is located at the back of your eye. This process allows you to see clearly.

Cataracts cloud your lens, which blocks the light, causing fewer light rays to reach the retina. This can affect your vision in a few different ways.

The most common cataract symptom is cloudy or blurry vision. They can also cause light sensitivity, glare, double vision in one eye, decreased night vision, fading or yellowing of colors, and a need to change your glasses or contact lens prescription more frequently. 

Your eye contains proteins, and as you age, these begin to break down and form clumps, which cloud your lens. Cataracts typically begin developing around the age of forty. 

An important fact to know about cataracts is that they develop slowly over time. You may not notice any symptoms at first or even realize you have a cataract. 

It can be years before a cataract begins to significantly impact your vision. While age is the most significant factor in your likelihood of developing a cataract, other factors can increase this risk. 

These include a lack of nutrition in your diet, UV exposure, an eye injury, smoking, and some medications. Your family history can also play a role. 

How Does Cataract Surgery Work?

Cataract surgery is a very safe and effective method of eliminating a cataract. First, your cataract surgeon will make a small incision into the front surface of your eye, known as the cornea.

They then use an ultrasonic device to break up the cataract and remove it. A clear, artificial lens is inserted through that same incision and put in place.

This new lens is called an intraocular lens, or IOL. This is a permanent lens that you will not be able to see or feel. 

No stitches are needed, as the eye will heal itself with a little time. 

Cataract surgery usually takes around a half hour to complete and will be performed one eye at a time. 

A topical anesthetic is applied so you are comfortable and can return home the same day. A shield may be applied over the eye to protect it as it heals. 

You’ll liklely be able to notice improved vision in as little as a day. Within a week, you can return to most normal activities. 

Cataract surgery has a high success rate. After cataract surgery, your vision will be restored. 

Colors become vibrant again, and glare no longer affects the ability to see at night. Plus, thanks to modern advancements in the field of cataract surgery, the IOL you choose can allow you to see even better than you could before you had a cataract. 

Some patients are able to give up their glasses or contact lenses completely!

When Does Cataract Surgery Become Necessary?

Eventually, most people will need to have cataract surgery. Every year, one and a half million people have cataract surgery. 

However, not everyone who is diagnosed with a cataract needs to have surgery at the current time. Since cataracts take so long to develop, cataract surgery is not yet necessary if you are not experiencing any symptoms or if symptoms are mild and don’t bother you. 

For some people, glasses or contact lenses are enough to offset the effects of a cataract in the early stages. Surgery is recommended when a cataract begins to affect your day-to-day life significantly. 

If you are no longer able to do the things you love or even take part in everyday activities like cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry, then it’s time to consider surgery. Cataract surgery can allow you to resume all your normal activities and reclaim your independence. 

It can even make you safer, as a lack of clarity in your vision can make you more likely to fall and have similar accidents. Cataract surgery can also do wonders for your mental health because you will no longer be limited by impaired vision. 

All in all, it can vastly improve your quality of life. If a cataract has progressed to the point that it is impacting your life, it’s best to talk to your eye doctor about getting cataract surgery.

During a cataract evaluation, your eye doctor will perform a thorough examination of your eyes. They will determine whether or not you may be ready for cataract surgery.

Your eye doctor will also talk with you about your IOL options and help you make a decision on which to choose.

Is a cataract making it harder for you to perform ordinary activities or stopping you altogether? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Jacksonville Eye Center in Jacksonville, FL, today!

Posted in: Cataracts