Cataract Surgery - Are you a good candidate for Cataract Surgery?
One of the most common causes of vision loss later in life is cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eyes natural lens and is caused by aging. If everyone lived to a certain elderly age, they would all eventually develop cataracts. While not life threatening it can diminish your quality of life, thus deserves attention.
If you find you have difficulty seeing, or your vision worsens with time, visit your eye doctor to find out if you have cataracts. This is a leading cause for vision problems later in life. It is also one of the simpler conditions to treat.
Early signs of cataracts can be treated by simple methods such as changing your glasses prescription or using more light while reading. But the ultimate treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery. If you plan to have surgery, you should learn as much as you can about cataracts and surgery before you decide whether surgery is the right choice for you.
What Are Cataracts?
Normally, our eyes natural lens is clear. It is made mostly of protein and water. With age, the protein begins to clump together creating a cloudy lens. When the lens becomes cloudy, it is unable to focus light as clearly onto the retina causing visual blur.
Just how common are cataracts? Roughly, half the population 65 years and up have some form of cataracts. Those older than 75 years are 85% likely to have cataracts of varying severity.
What is it like to have a cataract? It is very much like looking through a frosty window in the middle of winter. People with cataracts can sometimes see, but they are not able to see as clearly as they would without cataracts. Typically, if someone develops cataracts, they grow worse with age if not treated.
Usually people with early cataracts have limited problems seeing things, such as needing brighter illumination to read the newspaper. Later however, cataracts can become a big problem, making simple tasks including watching television or recognizing faces difficult.
The best way to approach cataracts is to learn about them and seek treatment and advice early. During the early stages of cataracts, eye doctors recommend their patients to use stronger eyeglasses, magnifying glasses or better sources of light so they can see better. However, as the cataract matures, there comes a time when your vision becomes impaired to the point where wearing stronger eyeglasses no longer improve your vision and then surgery is necessary to further improve your symptoms.
When cataracts disrupt your life to the point where you are not able to see clearly, or the quality of your life declines, cataract surgery may be an option. The good news is for most people, removing cataracts is not what many consider "major" surgery.
Because cataract surgery is still considered surgery, many people want to wait until their cataracts mature so much where simple tasks such as driving at night time or watching television become impossible to do before even considering the procedure. What most people don't understand is the longer you wait, and the denser the cataract, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the surgeon to remove the cataract thus creating a higher risk of surgical complications as well as post operative complications. It is important to consider cataract surgery when your eye doctor makes the recommendation.
When Is It Time To Consider Cataract Surgery?
How soon should you get surgery? That depends on many factors, including your quality of life concerns, your ability to get surgery, insurance coverage, the help you have available to you while recovering from surgery, and your willingness to undergo surgery. Typically down time for surgery is limited, so if you have some help, chances are good you will recover quickly and experience a much better quality of life.
For the most part, patients interested in surgery should ask their doctors about it sooner rather than later. An article published in Medical News Today suggested the wait times for cataracts surgery are increasing, as the population continues to age and more people request cataract surgery.
This may change as technology changes and new ways of treating old problems arise. In the meantime, if you want to treat cataracts by surgery, you may want to schedule your surgery sooner than later. If your eye doctor recommends you wait, ask them their reasons for suggesting this. They may have a legitimate concern about your health you need to address.
As a patient, you owe it to yourself to take care of your body, including your eyes. Your doctor can help you decide the best time to have surgery if you develop cataracts. For some people, despite their age, cataracts remain a minor problem. If cataracts do impair the quality of your life however, you deserve the opportunity to do something about it, with as little down time as possible.