As you age, you’re more likely to develop age-related eye conditions. These frequently include cataracts, which commonly affect adults over the age of 50. A cataract is cloudy area that develops in the clear lens of the eye, making it harder to see clearly.
Surgery is the only way to correct cataracts that negatively impact vision. Cataract eye surgery is commonly performed on older adults, as there is a large percentage of Americans over 80 that have had the procedure.
To learn more about cataracts and how to know when it’s time to look into cataract eye surgery, continue reading Nationwide Vision’s guide to cataracts.
Cataracts occur when the lens in the eye becomes cloudy. As light enters your eye through the pupil, it is filtered through the lens to help focus images on the retina at the back of the eye. When there is a clouded lens, the images that appear on the retina aren't as focused as they should be.
People with cataracts may experience blurry vision, see colors less vividly, or perceive double images. They can also become sensitive to bright lights appearing in otherwise dark areas, which makes driving at night challenging. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes.
Not all cataracts cause vision problems, and not all vision problems caused by cataracts require surgery. However, if cataracts begin to interfere with your ability to read, drive at night, or hinder your everyday life, you may need cataract surgery to correct the problem.
Although it is rare for someone under 40 to develop cataracts, it is possible for anyone to develop them – including infants and children. Cataracts are most commonly seen in older adults.
There are a few traits that can increase the risk of developing cataracts. These are:
Not wearing proper eye protection in the sunlight
Regularly consuming alcohol
Upper body radiation therapy
History of cataracts in the family
Eye trauma or surgery
Taking certain medications, such as steroids
Not all cataracts cause vision problems, and not all vision problems caused by cataracts require surgery. If you notice that your cataracts begin to interfere with your ability to read, drive at night, or hinder your everyday activities, you may need cataract surgery.
Your eye doctor can help you determine whether cataract surgery is right for you. Together, you can discuss how poor vision detracts from your everyday life and determine if the time is right for the procedure. Cataract surgery is never an emergency that needs to be performed quickly.
The surgery is commonly performed as an outpatient procedure. which an eye doctor can perform in under 30 minutes. During the procedure, the doctor removes the natural lens from your eye and replaces it with a clear artificial lens. If both of your eyes have cataracts, you'll have two separate procedures done several weeks apart.
There are advantages to having cataract surgery when your vision has worsened: About 90% of people report that their vision improves after they recover from the procedure. After the surgery, patients no longer see blurry or double images and may experience colors more vividly.
Think you may need cataract eye surgery? Find a Nationwide Vision location near you to schedule an appointment. Our team of highly trained eye care professionals provide comprehensive eye care including routine eye exams, preventative care, and treatment.