When Should You Have Cataract Surgery?
As we age, cataracts become a concern prompting the question, “When is the best time for cataract surgery?”
There are plenty of myths regarding cataracts that often lead to unnecessary anxiety and fear for many patients. Fortunately, just as the techniques of cataract extraction have changed over the decades, so have the indications to proceed with surgery.
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. While most cataracts develop with advancing age, there are other factors that can cause or accelerate a cataract. No one knows the exact reason a cataract occurs, but we do know that a number of factors can contribute to this condition.
Causes of Cataracts
- Exposure to ultraviolet light
- Eye Trauma
- Some medications including long-term use of oral steroids
- Certain metabolic conditions
- Alcohol consumption
Cataract formation is simply part of our body’s normal aging process that actually starts around age 45-50 and interferes with light passing through to the retina, or back portion of the eye. Because it happens so gradually and usually over a long period of time, many people do not notice a significant change in their vision until vision loss has occurred. One of the first changes people notice is the inability to see up close as we enter our 50s. This causes us to need reading glasses.
As the natural lens in our eye ages, it starts to yellow and thicken. These changes can affect our vision in several ways.
Symptoms of Cataracts
- Decreasing vision with age
- Blurred or double vision
- Seeing halos around bright lights
- Vision that worsens in sunlight
- Poor depth perception
- Frequent prescription changes for glasses
- Difficulty reading
- Inability to drive at night
- Inability to see in low light
- Fading of colors
- Reduction in contrast
- General clouding of vision
So When Should You Remove Your Cataracts?
While many patients with early cataracts can continue to see well with just a change in their glasses, the best time to have your cataracts removed are when they interfere with your lifestyle. This threshold is very different between people, so the best start in determining if it is time for your surgery is to schedule a cataract evaluation.
In conclusion, you should never feel pressured into having cataract surgery. The time to proceed with cataract surgery is something you decide. You assess your lifestyle requirements and your vision performance within your scope of activities. Once you feel you are impaired in these activities, it’s time to take them out.