According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, almost 25.7 million Americans who are 40 and over have cataracts. Cataracts are considered a normal part of the body’s aging process. The only cure for cataracts is to have surgery to remove them. The prospect of cataract surgery might be intimidating, but you can rest assured that this surgery is the most common elective surgery for older adults who have Medicare.
Your Initial Diagnosis
Being told that you have cataracts can be unsettling, especially if you haven't noticed any changes in your vision which is very possible. Cataracts do not always affect your vision, and if they do, your vision can be improved by wearing prescription glasses. Surgery is not usually indicated until your cataracts begin to cause vision problems that interfere with your daily life. How do you know when it's time to have surgery, though?
Determining When It’s Time to Have Surgery
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has created a list of four questions to consider when determining if you need surgery:
- Are your cataracts interfering with your work or daily activities? Your cataracts can make your vision blurry, dim, or cause things to appear yellowed. In some cases, you may experience double vision. This could make it difficult to read, sew, or do other close, intricate work.
- Are you having difficulty driving at night? Your cataracts can cause you to see halos around lights and make it difficult to see in the dark. This can create a dangerous situation for you and others when driving.
- Have your eyes become overly sensitive to sunlight? Cataracts can make your eyes more sensitive to glare from the sun. This can make it difficult to participate in outdoor activities.
- Are you able to manage your vision problems in other ways? If you are able to manage by using brighter lights in your home, wearing polarized sunglasses outdoors, or magnifying lenses to read, you may be able to put your cataract surgery off for a little while.
Putting off cataract surgery isn't uncommon, but if you have cataracts and they are starting to make life difficult, having them removed can greatly improve your vision. Your blurriness and dull vision will be improved as a result of having your cataracts removed. Surgery is only recommended if its outcome is expected to have a positive effect on your vision. If you have questions about cataract surgery, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Iowa City Ambulatory Surgical Center.