What Are the Signs You May Need Cataract Surgery?

Thu, Jul 04, 2024

What Are the Signs You May Need Cataract Surgery?

The development of cataracts is a common eye condition that affects more than 20 million Americans ages 40 and over, causing clouding of the lens in the eye, leading to blurry or cloudy vision. As cataracts progress, they can significantly affect your ability to see clearly and perform daily tasks such as reading, driving, and even recognizing faces.

Fortunately, cataract removal is quick and painless and one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S., with an estimated 3 million people each year undergoing the procedure. Do you know the signs you need cataract surgery? NCSH eye experts clear up your questions and explain what you should know.

How Do You Know When You Need Cataract Surgery?

An ophthalmologist examines a patient’s eyes for cataracts. You may be suffering from cataracts if you experience:

  • Blurry or cloudy vision, especially at night.
  • Difficulty seeing in dim light or bright sunlight.
  • Colors that appear faded or yellowed.
  • Glare or halos around lights.
  • Double vision in one eye.
  • Frequent changes in glasses prescription.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your eye doctor. Several conditions could cause these symptoms, and medical or corrective care may be necessary. But, if your eye doctor diagnoses you as having cataracts, you may wonder what could be causing your cataracts in the first place.

Understanding Cataracts

Cataracts develop as the proteins in the lens of your eye begin to clump together and cloud your vision. Age is a common factor in the development of cataracts, but other risk factors include smoking, excessive UV exposure, certain medications (such as steroids), and medical conditions like diabetes that can also cause them to occur in younger people.

Cataract Diagnosis and Nonsurgical Treatment Options

  • Diagnosis of cataracts: This is typically done during a comprehensive eye exam by an ophthalmologist. Your eye doctor will assess your vision and examine the clarity of your lens. If cataracts are detected, they will discuss treatment options with you. The good news is that cataracts typically develop slowly over time, so it’s important to discuss any changes in your symptoms with your eye doctor to keep track of the progression.
  • Options: In the early stages, your eye doctor may recommend using stronger glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision. They may also suggest wearing hats and sunglasses outdoors to protect eyes from bright lights and reduce sensitivity.
  • When to get cataract surgery: If cataracts significantly affect your daily life and quality of vision, and other measures have been unsuccessful or lost their effectiveness, surgery is often the best option.

Cataract Surgery Explained

If your ophthalmologist recommends surgery, you can relax knowing that it has a high success rate in improving vision. In fact, it’s been helping correct vision since ancient times, performed first by the Egyptians and later by the Romans. With today’s advancements in technology and techniques, cataract surgery is safer and more effective than ever.

What surgery involves: Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens. The procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis and usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete.

Pre-surgery preparation: Before the procedure, your ophthalmologist will provide instructions on how to prepare, which may include stopping certain medications and fasting before surgery.

Anesthesia: During the surgery, you will be given numbing eye drops or a local anesthetic to ensure you are comfortable throughout the procedure.

Lens removal: The surgeon will make a small incision in your eye and use ultrasound technology to break up and remove the cloudy lens.

Lens replacement: Once the cloudy lens is removed, a clear artificial lens will be inserted in its place. This new lens may help improve your vision and reduce your reliance on glasses or contacts.

Recovery: Recovery time is usually quick, with most patients noticing improved vision within a few days. You may experience some mild discomfort or itching. Your ophthalmologist will provide instructions on how to care for your eye and schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.

Cataract Surgery At North Carolina Specialty Hospital

If you have cataract symptoms, it’s important not to delay seeing an ophthalmologist. Talk to an NCSH ophthalmologist right here in your neighborhood about your symptoms, whether surgery is necessary, and when to get cataracts removed if you are diagnosed with them. Two of the revolutionary quick and painless cataract surgeries we offer are:

LenSx® Laser Bladeless Cataract Surgery, where a laser makes an incision in the eye and breaks up the cataract in less than a minute. The laser is more accurate than a scalpel and provides a sharper, more precise visual outcome.

Dropless™ Cataract Surgery, along with highly definitive lenses, improves our patients’ visual outcomes. With “dropless” cataract surgery, patients are relieved of the burden and cost of using post-cataract surgery drops, making a recovery that’s faster and easier on the budget.

Click here to make an appointment today with one of our expert ophthalmologists—and take the first step toward restoring your vision and improving the quality of your life.

Stay Current

Educational Articles & More

View News & Press