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Cataract FAQ’s

Who gets cataracts? What are cataracts? What are the symptoms? Can they be prevented? What can I expect with surgery?

These are some of our most commonly received questions about cataracts and cataract surgery.

Keep reading for some frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about cataracts and cataract surgery and maybe get some of your questions answered in the process!

What is a cataract?

A leading cause of vision loss in older adults, a cataract occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded. This can occur in one or both eyes, though it cannot be transferred or spread from one eye to the other.

When a cataract obstructs the lens, it cannot focus properly on images, which results in blurred or dull objects.

Who gets cataracts?

Most cataracts develop over time and affect people over age 50. About half of the U.S. population has a cataract by age 65, and nearly everyone over age 75 has at least a mild cataract in one or both eyes.

Occasionally cataracts are found in younger people, including the rare instance of newborns who have congenital cataracts.

What causes cataracts?

Many factors can contribute to the development of cataracts. Chemical changes can occur within the eye lens that cause it to become cloudy. This is usually due to aging; it may be heredity, from an injury, or due to disease.

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation present in sunlight, cigarette smoking, or the use of certain medications are all risk factors for the development of cataracts.

[Need help choosing some protective eyewear this summer? Check out this blog post!]

Can cataracts be prevented?

Currently, there are no proven methods to prevent cataracts from forming.

This condition cannot be prevented or corrected by medication – the most effective way to treat a cataract is through surgery to completely replace the old, clouded lens with a new, artificial lens.

What are the symptoms?

There are several common signs that a patient has developed a cataract, including:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Trouble seeing well at night.
  • Glare or halos around objects.
  • Sensitivity to bright light.
  • Double vision.
  • Loss of color vision – Colors might look yellow, brownish, or faded.
  • Needing new glasses or contact lens prescriptions more often.

How are cataracts diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye exam, performed by a primary eye care doctor, will reveal if a cataract is present. The eye doctor can refer you to a surgeon, like Dr. Harris, for a comprehensive cataract evaluation, where he or she will offer an expert opinion for treatment options.

Need a primary eye care doctor? Please visit the Affiliated Physicians page to help you find a doctor who works closely with our team.

How are they treated?

If a cataract develops to the point that your daily activities are affected, you will be referred to an eye surgeon who may recommend the surgical removal of the cataract. The surgery can generally be done in the surgeon’s office using local or topical anesthesia.

Using a small incision, the surgeon will remove the clouded lens and, in most cases, replace it with an intraocular lens implant. Medication is generally placed in the eye after surgery, and the eye may be patched.

Is surgery the only way to treat cataracts?

Your optometrist can prescribe changes in your eyewear that will help you see more clearly until surgery is necessary.

When eyewear no longer provides adequate eyesight, surgery is the only proven means of effectively treating cataracts. Luckily, surgery is relatively uncomplicated and has an excellent success rate.

What happens after surgery?

Recovery time is typically one or two days. Still, every person is unique, and your healing experience will depend on your eye’s underlying health and the ease of your surgery. That’s why it is imperative to plan regularly scheduled visits for your surgeon and technician to monitor your progress.

Blurry or foggy vision is typical immediately after surgery, and your eyes may feel slightly sore or gritty. These symptoms will improve, and irritation will lessen within a few days.

Cataract surgery is safe and effective, and we make the process as painless as possible at Cataract Consultants.

If you have more questions or are considering surgery, please contact the team at Cataract Consultants right away. You are worth the investment! 

Five Things you Need to Know About Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are an eye condition that causes the lens of the eye to become clouded, reducing vision. Unlike glaucoma, which affects the optic nerve and cannot be reversed, cataracts can be treated with eye surgery by an ophthalmologist.

The advances in cataract surgery in recent decades have been amazing, and the patients are benefiting greatly. Still, many people are hesitant to undergo surgery, but it’s important to understand that cataract surgery is a safe and routine procedure.

So you can have a better idea of what to expect, here are five things you need to know about cataract surgery:

What are cataracts?

Before considering surgery, you must fully educate yourself about what cataracts are.

A cataract occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded. This can occur in one or both eyes, though it cannot be transferred or spread from one eye to the other. When a cataract obstructs the lens, it cannot focus properly on images, which results in objects appearing blurred or dull. This condition cannot be prevented or corrected by medication. In essence, the most effective way to treat a cataract is through surgery to completely replace the old, clouded lens with a new, artificial lens.

For most patients, this surgery completely transforms their vision and dramatically improves their quality of life. There are several common signs that a patient has developed a cataract, including:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision.
  • Poor night vision.
  • Difficulty with glare — headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright, or a halo may appear around lights.
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye.
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Cataracts are common.

Cataracts are very prevalent and are the number one cause of vision loss globally. According to an article in Consumer Reports, about 24.5 million people in the U.S. have cataracts. More than half of all Americans will have undergone cataract surgery by the age of 80, and more than 3.5 million cataract surgeries are performed annually. Because of the many operations, and hours of experience, cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective types of operations.

Surgeries are rising, and the age of patients is dropping.

The annual number of cataract surgeries is increasing annually, and the average age of the surgery patient is dropping. Research indicates that the rate of cataract surgery had increased five times since 1980, and the average age of a patient undergoing cataract surgery has now decreased to 65.

The recovery time is short.

Immediately after surgery, vision can be very blurry, and you will need assistance in getting home. The results, of course, vary per person, but many patients state that their vision begins to improve within a few days of the surgery. You should be completely healed a month after your surgery.

[If you think cataract surgery is for you, click this link for the next steps in the process!]

You need to invest in yourself.

Some also believe that vision loss and its restrictive impact should be accepted as part of the aging process. However, research has shown that cataract surgery has a far-reaching impact on the quality of people’s lives. Now is the time to focus on yourself and make your health a priority. Think of cataract surgery as an investment in your future and your health. Check out our patient financing options here!

Cataract surgery can dramatically improve both your vision and quality of life. However, it is a decision that requires a lot of thought and research.

Contact our team at Cataract Consultants today for an evaluation to find out if you could be the right candidate for cataract surgery.