As a natural consequence of aging, cataracts develop within the eye. This means that at some stage in life, cataracts will affect everyone.
At Blaine Eye Clinic, our eye doctors have the experience and training necessary to diagnose and monitor your cataracts to ensure that you receive cataract surgery when the time is right. Keep reading to learn more about when it’s time to start considering cataract surgery!
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts develop when proteins inside the natural lens of the eye begin to break down and clump together. As these proteins clump together over time, the lens will become cloudy, leading to a loss of vision.
Cataracts typically occur as a result of the natural aging process. However, they can also develop earlier in life due to other factors such as injury and certain medications.
Cataract symptoms in the early stages can often be mediated with an updated glasses prescription or over-the-counter reading glasses. However, cataract surgery will eventually be necessary to eliminate cataract symptoms and restore sight.
It’s important to have regular eye exams with your eye doctor at Blaine Eye Clinic, so your cataracts can be detected and monitored.
What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Cataracts can cause various vision problems, including blurriness and difficulty reading. Those with cataracts may also have trouble seeing at night, particularly while driving, in addition to having trouble distinguishing colors.
Some people may also be more sensitive to glare from lights or sunlight. As cataracts worsen, they can lead to further vision loss and, if left untreated, eventually cause severe vision loss.
At first, the symptoms of cataracts are often not severe. However, as the cataracts gradually grow, symptoms will worsen and begin to inhibit you from performing your typical tasks.
During regular eye exams with your eye doctor at Blaine Eye Clinic, you will be able to learn the status of your cataracts and ask any questions you may have.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
During cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, also known as an IOL. This is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you will get to go home the same day.
First, your cataract surgeon will make a tiny incision in the cornea and use ultrasound energy to break up the cloudy lens. Once the tiny lens pieces have been removed from the eye, they will insert your new artificial lens through the same incision and position it in place.
The procedure usually takes around fifteen to thirty minutes, and most patients experience improved vision within a few days. Cataract surgery is generally considered safe and highly successful, with a low risk of complications.
Can Cataracts Come Back After Cataract Surgery?
Once your cataracts have been removed, they will not be able to come back. The new artificial intraocular lens placed in your eye during cataract surgery cannot develop cataracts.
However, some people may experience a clouding of the membrane that holds the IOL in place, which can cause vision problems similar to cataracts. This condition is called posterior capsule opacification (PCO), and it can be treated with a simple laser procedure to restore clear vision.
While cataracts themselves cannot recur after surgery, it is important to continue to undergo regular eye exams to monitor for any potential issues or complications that may arise over time.
How Do I Know When It’s Time for Cataract Surgery?
Determining when it is time for cataract surgery depends on various factors. One of the main factors is the severity of the cataract, as more severe cataracts can significantly impact vision and daily activities.
If you are experiencing vision problems that interfere with your daily activities, such as driving or reading, it may be time for you to have cataract surgery. The eye doctors at the Blaine Eye Clinic have the training and experience to monitor your cataract progression during regular eye exams and can make recommendations for treatment when necessary.
If your eye doctor at Blaine Eye Clinic believes that it may be time for you to have cataract surgery, they will refer you to a cataract surgeon for the procedure. The decision to undergo cataract surgery ultimately rests with you.
However, it is crucial to follow the advice of the eye doctor, who will provide guidance on the optimal timing for surgery. Following cataract surgery, you will likely experience a significant improvement in your vision, which can greatly improve your quality of life.
To ensure the best cataract surgery results, it’s important to carefully follow any post-operative instructions provided to you by the eye doctor, including taking any eye drops as recommended.
Are you experiencing vision changes or other symptoms of cataracts? Schedule an appointment at Blaine Eye Clinic in Blaine, MN, today!