When should you think about getting cataract surgery?
Cataracts are a normal part of the ageing process and many of us will develop them at some point in our lives. They occur when the natural clear lens inside the eye becomes progressively harder and cloudier and can develop at different rates for different people, and even between the two eyes of the same person. Although very common, it can still be a daunting experience being diagnosed with cataract by your doctor or ophthalmologist, so we have created this blog to guide you through the experience.
Firstly, being diagnosed with cataracts does not necessarily mean that you will require surgery straight away. In the early stages, cataracts may not significantly impact your vision and minor changes may be improved with prescription glasses. However, as the cataracts continue to mature over time, they may result in increased vision loss that can interfere with your quality of life.
So how do you decide when is the right time to get cataract surgery?
This is a decision best made with the help of your ophthalmologist and will vary from person to person, though asking yourself the following questions may help you reach a decision with your doctor.
Are your cataracts impacting your daily lifestyle activities?
Symptoms of cataracts can include dim or blurred vision which leads to a lack of contrast and clarity. This can in turn cause difficulty for people who need clear vision for work, driving or who enjoy hobbies like reading, cooking or sewing. Cataracts can also increase sensitivity to glare, which may negatively impact people who enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing or fishing. Cataracts can also cause visual differences between the two eyes, which can affect distance vision and make it harder to enjoy hobbies such a golf. If you notice your cataracts are causing you to miss out on activities you enjoy, it may be worth discussing surgery with your ophthalmologist.
Are your cataracts affecting your ability to drive safely at night?
Cataracts can cause halos around lights and cause difficulty seeing in low-light environments, this can impact your ability to drive safely at night. If you find yourself avoiding driving at night because you are finding it hard to see, then it may be time to book an appointment with your eye doctor.
Are you constantly upgrading your glasses or contact prescription?
As cataracts develop, they often result in changes to your normal glasses or contact prescription.
For many people, in the early stages, new eyeglasses may restore good vision. However, eventually a point will be reached where even replacing your glasses prescription every few months, your vision will not be satisfactory. At this point, you may wish to consider discussing cataract surgery, because new glasses will no longer correct your vision.
The good news is that many people who undergo cataract surgery no longer need prescription glasses for long distances and in some select cases may no longer need prescription glasses at all.
If you or someone you know feel it is time to consider cataract surgery, the Northern Eye Centre which has several locations throughout Melbourne would be happy to discuss your options with you. To make an appointment please call: 9459 5133