Historically, cataracts have been a widespread cause of vision loss. This problem, in which the protein that naturally exists on the lens of the eye clumps together, can be treated. The procedure is referred to as cataract removal surgery, but this may not paint an accurate picture. Cataract removal is technically lens removal. Because cataracts are proteins integrated across the lens, the way to correct cloudy, blurry vision is to replace the affected lens with an artificial one. No other treatment options have been discovered through research, so the question is not whether or not to have cataract surgery, but when to have it.
Cataract Treatment Timing
The diagnosis of a cataract does not need to be met with an immediate discussion about removal. In many cases, the visual disruption caused by cataracts occurs over several years. The general standard of care at this time is to remove cataracts when they have altered vision to such a degree that usual activities can no longer be easily performed and enjoyed. If cataracts are not inhibiting your ability to drive safely, read books, or observe photos and other objects, there is no indication for surgery. If these activities are challenging due to blurriness or cloudiness, a medical eye exam is warranted.
Problems with Advanced Cataracts
On the other end of the spectrum of timing, we can see that there is no value in letting cataracts advance. It used to be believed that a cataract should be relatively well-formed before they could be removed. Since that time, surgical techniques have been refined. This allows doctors to replace lenses at any stage in the disease. Furthermore, aside from the fact that clouded vision is poor vision, an advanced cataract may cause the eye to become inflamed. Inflammation in the eye could increase pressure, which could damage the optic nerve. So, while we don’t rush to remove newly-formed cataracts, we also don’t require patients to wait so long to receive care that their quality of life is severely disrupted.
Cataract removal surgery is largely perceived as elective in terms of timing. Patients have the power to decide when their cataracts need to be removed. On our end, it is important for us to make sure that choice is made confidently.
Don’t wait for cataracts to degrade your quality of life. Schedule an eye exam in our Ocala office to discuss the details of cataract removal.