FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- How is a cataract detected?
A thorough eye examination by your ophthalmologist can detect the presence and extent of a cataract, as well as any other conditions that may be causing blurred vision or other symptoms.
There may be other reasons for visual loss aside from the cataract, particularly problems involving the retina or optic nerve.
If these problems are present, perfect vision may not be possible after cataract removal. If any other conditions are severe, removal of the cataract may not result in any improvement in vision. Your ophthalmologist can tell you how much visual improvement is likely.
- How fast does a cataract develop?
How quickly the cataract develops varies among patients and may vary even between both eyes. Most cataracts associated with the aging process can progress gradually over a period of years.
Other cataracts, particularly in young people and diabetics, may progress quickly over a few months. It is not possible to predict exactly how fast a cataract will develop in individuals.
- How are cataracts treated?
Surgery is the only way you can remove a cataract. However, if symptoms are mild, a change of glasses may be all that is needed for you to function comfortably.
There are no medications, exercises, or optical devices that have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts. Protection from excessive sunlight could help prevent or slow the progression of cataracts. Wrap sunglasses and polarized sunglasses will help as well.
- When should surgery be done?
Surgery should be considered when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with daily activities. It is not true that cataracts should be “ripe” before they can be removed.
Cataract surgery should be performed when your visual needs require it. You must decide if you can function safely and comfortably in your daily activities; if you cannot, then it could be time to have the cataract removed and you should discuss this with your doctor.
- What can I expect from cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is usually performed under anesthesia at one of two surgery centers, as an outpatient procedure. The cloudy lens is removed from the eye and the focusing power of the removed lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent intraocular lens implant. The surgeon performs the surgery using a microscope, miniature instruments and other modern technology.
After cataract surgery, you may return to all but the most strenuous activities almost immediately. You will be instructed to use eye drops and postoperative visits are scheduled to check on your eye as it heals. After cataract surgery, approximately one-fifth of patients experience a clouding of the natural capsule that supports the new lens. Laser surgery is used to open this cloudy capsule and restore clear vision.