Cataracts are a common condition in people that are over the age of 40. They’re so common, in fact, that cataract surgery is the most frequently performed medical procedure in the United States.
If you have cataracts, chances are you’ll need to have them removed at some point. But when should that happen? It’s different for everyone, and there are a few things to consider. Keep reading to find out if you may need your cataracts removed!
Before you can think about having your cataracts removed, you need to have them diagnosed. As a rule, you should have regular eye exams at least once every two years once you turn 40.
Having regular eye exams can help your doctor spot cataracts before they start to affect your vision. If you don’t have regular eye exams, or you experience cataract symptoms before your next exam, you should see your eye doctor.
The most common cataract symptoms include:
● Blurry vision
● Trouble seeing at night
● Decreased ability to see color contrast
● Excessive glare
● Light sensitivity
If you experience these symptoms, you probably have cataracts. Usually, having these kinds of symptoms means that you have advanced cataracts.
Cataracts form in your eye’s natural lens, causing it to cloud. The cloudier the lens gets, the more your vision is impaired.
Left untreated, cataracts can even cause total blindness. The good news is that once you have your lenses removed and replaced during cataract surgery, any vision loss due to cataracts is restored.
So when should you get cataract surgery? It depends, and it isn’t always as simple as having them removed as soon as they’re diagnosed.
Doctors recommend you have your cataracts removed only when they begin to affect your quality of life.
Quality of Life
Why wait until your cataracts develop enough that they affect your quality of life? Cataracts can develop very slowly, often over a period of years.
If you have your cataracts diagnosed before you experience any symptoms, it could be years before they give you any trouble. They may never even cause any significant visual impairment.
But when they start to affect your daily life, that’s when you should consider having them removed. Sometimes it can be hard to attribute everyday struggles to your cataracts, like having trouble reading or working in low light.
That’s why it’s important to know you have cataracts and to know what cataract symptoms look like. For example, if you have trouble driving at night, that could very well be because of cataracts.
Combining glare from headlights, light sensitivity, and difficulty seeing in low light can make driving at night much harder. When thinking about whether it’s time to have your cataracts removed, think of these daily struggles.
Could they be due to visual impairment? Discuss with the doctor issues you have with your vision to determine how your cataracts affect your life. Together with your ophthalmologist, you can make an informed decision about when to have your cataracts removed.
Thinking it may be time for cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at The Nielsen Eye Center in the greater Boston area!
Call The Nielsen Eye Center at 617-471-5665, where one of our Patient Advocates will be waiting to talk to you. If you know you have cataracts that are impacting your life, it may be the right time for cataract surgery.