Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. Over time, cataracts can grow to significantly impact your vision and even cause blindness if left untreated.
Fortunately, vision can be easily restored through a simple procedure.
With cataract surgery, you can get rid of cataracts for good and restore clear vision.
Cataract surgery is a quick, outpatient procedure that can even allow you to experience greater visual freedom. Keep reading to learn more about cataracts, including how cataracts affect vision!
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts develop when proteins inside the natural lens of your eye begin to break down and clump together. These changes cause your lens to become cloudy and make it increasingly difficult for light to pass through.
If the light is unable to pass through the lens to reach the retina, vision will be blurry. Many people with cataracts say it’s like looking through a foggy window.
What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Cataracts typically develop so gradually that you might not notice any vision changes. But as they become more advanced, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Blurry, foggy, or cloudy vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Poor night vision
- Halos and glare
- Colors looking faded
- Double vision in one eye
- Frequent prescription changes
- Needing brighter light for close-up activities
Why Cataract Surgery is Necessary?
In the early stages of cataracts, new prescription glasses or contact lenses, brighter lighting, and magnifying lenses can help you see better. However, cataracts will worsen with time.
These solutions stop working when your cataract grows bigger and covers a more significant part of your lens. Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts.
Your eye doctor will recommend cataract surgery once your symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life. It is important not to wait until your vision is significantly impacted to have cataract surgery.
This is because hyper-mature cataracts that lead to blindness are harder to remove and increase the risk of complications during surgery. So, it’s best to have cataract surgery before cataracts cause total vision loss.
Usually, your eye doctor will recommend cataract surgery if you can’t watch TV, use your phone, drive safely, cook, read, and perform other routine activities.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
During your cataract procedure, eye drops will be administered to widen your pupil. Numbing drops will also be applied to completely numb your eye.
You’ll remain awake during the entire procedure and see general movement and light. However, your eye doctor will ensure that you are comfortable.
From there, your cataract surgeon will create a tiny incision in your cornea. The opening will allow your cataract surgeon to access your cloudy lens.
Next, your cataract surgeon will break the cataract into tiny pieces and remove them. Once all the pieces are removed, your cataract surgeon will implant an artificial lens or intraocular lens, also known as an IOL, to take the place of your natural lens.
The new IOL is what restores clear vision after cataract surgery. Depending on the IOL you choose before your cataract procedure, you could end up with even greater visual freedom than before.
Finally, the tiny incision made is left to heal on its own without stitches.
If you have cataracts in both eyes, your cataract surgeon will likely wait until the treated eye heals first before removing the cataract in the other eye.
What Recovery Looks Like After Cataract Surgery
Your cataract surgeon will provide aftercare instructions before you leave. It’s very important to follow all of them closely for a safe and smooth recovery.
Since cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, you will be able to go back home on the same day of your procedure. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the surgery center in advance.
Your eye doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. You’ll also have scheduled post-op appointments.
Make sure you attend all your follow-up visits. These appointments allow your eye doctor to ensure your eye is healing properly.
Recovery following cataract surgery is usually quick. A majority of patients resume most of their routine activities within one to three days after surgery.
How Does Cataract Surgery Improve Vision?
Here are some of the ways cataract surgery can improve your eyesight:
Removing cataracts clears up your vision. When your cloudy lens is replaced with a new one, images and objects become sharper and crisper than before.
Some IOLs can provide clear vision at all distances: near, far, and everything in the middle. Others can correct refractive errors like presbyopia and astigmatism.
Depending on the IOL you select, you may be able to reduce your dependency on visual aids after the procedure. Best of all, cataracts can never come back once they are removed.
So you can look forward to enjoying clear vision for years to come.
One of your most unforgettable moments after cataract surgery will be realizing what colors you’ve been missing. Colors tend to lack luster and look washed out when you have cataracts.
This is because you view the world through a yellowish or brownish lens instead of a clear one when you have cataracts. As a result, everything around you takes on a brownish or yellowish hue.
After cataract surgery with a clear IOL, you’ll experience a beautiful range of colors. Suddenly, colors will appear brighter and more vivid.
Reclaim Your Vision from Cataracts
If you’re unable to perform basic tasks like cleaning or cooking or even do the things you love, like golfing, reading, or hiking, because of cataracts, you should consider cataract surgery at Sierra Nevada Eye Center. Cataract surgery will restore your vision and significantly improve your quality of life.
Has your vision changed enough to interfere with your everyday life? Schedule your cataract screening at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV, today to find out if it’s time for cataract surgery!