Everybody gets cataracts. They are unavoidable. They are the result of an advanced aging change in the eyes. Your lens starts out very transparent. Gradually, as you age, your lens picks up proteins and impurities. The lens becomes translucent, much like smoked shower glass. This is so gradual that most of us don’t notice the mild dimming of our vision. However, you may notice that driving at night becomes difficult. Perhaps you detect a glare from oncoming headlights, or you realize you need more light to read fine print. As the process progresses, the lens hardens and can become opaque and block vision.
When Should I Get Surgery?
There is no single point where every person has to have cataract surgery. The criteria for recommending the surgery are primarily functional. That is, can you do what you want and see as well as you need to see? We also consider whether after removing the cataracts, will you notice improved visual clarity and function? Doctors take this into consideration to help them determine the appropriateness of proceeding with the surgery. Your doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam, checking your vision for function. For example, how much is glare affecting your vision? Note that the human lens sits right behind the pupil, so it’s more fully viewed when we can dilate the pupil. We use a high-powered microscope called a slit lamp to assess the location and density of any lens changes. Over time, a cataract may appear very white, milky yellow, or brown as it matures.
A critical key in the evaluation is also ruling out other causes that might lead to decreased vision, which cannot be corrected with cataract surgery. Glaucoma, macular degeneration, stroke, prescription changes or other ocular abnormalities must be considered.
We will assess whether your visual decline is due to a cataract, which indicates that by removing the cataract and implanting an intraocular lens, (IOL) we can return your vision to a pre-cataract state.
With the advancements in technology and lens types, we can select the power of the implant to give patients less dependency on glasses after surgery.
If you’ve been diagnosed with or are concerned that you might have cataracts, click here to make an appointment or give us a call at (615) 771-7555.