No one likes to admit that their vision is changing as they get older. A lot of people have vision changes as a result of presbyopia, or the loss of elasticity in your eye, which makes it hard for your eyes to adjust. But another common condition that many people deal with as they get older is cataracts. Cataracts are essentially the clouding over of the lens in your eyes, and this restricts what your eyes can see.
If you’ve noticed your vision changing, it could be either of these possibilities. But did you know that cataracts are actually highly treatable? There are a couple of different ways you can deal with cataracts depending on how severe they are. Let’s make sure you know everything you need to know about cataracts and how to treat them.
Signs of Cataracts
As cataracts form, they tend to distort the light that comes into your eye. Because of this, one of the first signs of cataracts you may notice is that light looks fuzzy or haloed, especially at night. It may be particularly obvious when you’re driving at night, and you see headlights coming towards you.
There are other signs of cataracts, however. For example, you may notice that colors are starting to look duller or that your vision is generally more blurry. You may find yourself needing to replace your prescription for glasses or contacts more often. You may even see double at times. These are all common signs of cataracts, but the best way to be sure that you have cataracts and not a different eye condition is to get a diagnosis from an experienced cataract surgeon.
Your doctor will be able to determine with a simple pupil dilation exam whether you have cataracts or a different eye condition. Your doctor will also be able to tell you how severe the cataracts are, which is important to know because the severity can affect the treatment you should pursue.
When to Get Cataract Surgery
When your doctor tells you that you have cataracts, you may think that getting surgery right away is the best option. But that’s not always the case. If your cataracts are not very severe, there are other things you can do to see clearly for a while. If you don’t need surgery, your doctor will probably recommend that you wait until your condition worsens before having surgery.
When cataracts start limiting your ability to do your daily activities, like reading and watching TV, and other treatments aren’t helping anymore, then it’s probably time to get surgery. Talk with your doctor about how challenging your cataracts are for you to deal with in your daily activities to help them decide if surgery is the right option for you.
You may think it’s time for you to have surgery, but it really comes down to whether or not your surgeon thinks it’s actually time for surgery. Because surgery has inherent risks, your doctor will likely want to wait to perform surgery until it is really needed.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery
Surgery is the most common way to treat cataracts because, without surgery, your eyesight can eventually disappear if the cataracts are severe enough. In fact, cataract surgeries are one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States. Cataract surgery is a relatively safe surgery, and with improvements to the surgery procedure, it’s even less risky than it used to be.
When you come in for your cataract surgery, you’ll receive anesthetic eye drops to numb your eyes. Once your eyes are numb, your surgeon will remove your clouded lens from your eye and replace it with a man-made lens that will be clear. Once your eyes heal, you should be able to see normally. Your vision will be better than it has been in a long time, and you may find that you don’t need reading glasses as much as you did before.
Though you may not need reading glasses as much post-surgery, remember that cataract surgery is not a cure for presbyopia, so it’s likely you will still need to use reading glasses at times following your surgery. But you should be able to return to your normal daily activities without much vision impairment beyond presbyopia.
Dealing With Cataracts Before Surgery
If your cataracts are not severe enough for immediate surgery, your doctor will likely recommend a couple of different practices for you to protect your eyes and keep your cataracts from getting worse.
For example, your doctor will likely recommend that you use brighter lights in your home. The brighter lights will help you see better, but they will also put less strain on your eyes. Putting less strain on your eyes will help keep your vision from worsening too quickly.
Your doctor will also likely recommend that you get a new prescription for your glasses and/or contacts, as doing so should also help you see better in your daily activities. Using sunglasses frequently outside and a magnifying glass to help you read do other close-up activities are also good treatments for dealing with cataracts.
These treatments can be helpful, but they are not going to cure your cataracts. Eventually, you will probably need cataract surgery. But doing these things should help you get by just fine until you get to the point of needing surgery.
Need Cataract Surgery in Utah?
Though cataract surgery is relatively low-risk, it’s important that you find the right surgeon to perform the surgery. An experienced surgeon will know how to minimize the risks as much as possible and give you the best results you can hope for. If you’re in Utah and looking for a highly experienced cataract surgeon, contact Davis Vision Center. Dr. Davis is one of the most experienced eye surgeons in the state and in the nation, so you know you’re in good hands with him. Call us today at 801-590-0864, and we’ll get you in to see Dr. Davis as soon as possible.