June is Cataract Awareness Month and we’ve put together a list of questions and answers to help clear up some common misconceptions and myths.
Have you ever wondered at what age you will develop cataracts, if ever? The truth is, everyone develops cataracts if they live long enough! Even though it’s rare, you can actually be born with cataracts. Age-related cataracts will typically develop in your 60s, 70s, and 80s, but can start as early as your 40’s. It’s kind of like gray hair. Some people start getting their first gray hair a little earlier than others.
Is it possible to prevent cataracts?
Well, steroid use can cause cataracts to develop quicker, but overall, you will still eventually end up with them no matter what you do.
What happens if you avoid cataract surgery?
Can anything bad happen? Your vision will progressively decline, and waiting can actually make it harder for the surgeon to remove it. We never perform cataract surgery until it is necessary, and try to work with the patient on a timeline that works for them.
How do I know it’s time for surgery?
This is determined by a combination of the patient’s vision (or visual acuity) and how dense (or cloudy) the cataract looks to the eye doctor. Typically, if your vision is becoming too poor to legally drive a vehicle, it’s time to have them out. Cataracts are usually very slow at progressing, so it is not an emergency to get it scheduled. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best time for it.
Is it better to have cataract surgery early?
Depends on the patient. If the structure of the eye or medications their taking will make the surgery more difficult, the surgeon may suggest it sooner than for someone else.
Is it possible to reverse the effects of cataracts without surgery?
What are the main symptoms of cataracts?
Cloudy vision, glare, needing more light to read, frequent changes in glasses prescriptions.
Will I be awake for cataract surgery and will it hurt?
In most cases, our patients are awake for the surgery. This allows the surgeon to speak with the patient and have them looking in the correct direction for even better results. The eye will be numbed with an eye drop so the patient is comfortable. Medication is given to relax the patient during the surgery.
What happens after surgery?
After surgery, the patient (or a caregiver) will be using eye drops for about a month. This is to prevent infection and help with inflammation. We will monitor how you are recovering and checking your vision at follow-up appointments.
I heard you can see without glasses after cataract surgery, is this true?
Yes, depending on the lenses that are chosen by the patient and the surgeon. All of the options are discussed prior to surgery and the patient will help decide what is best for them.