As we age, the lenses in our eyes can become less transparent due to the build-up of protein deposits. These deposits are known as cataracts and can cause vision loss or even blindness if left untreated. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens from the eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
Here are some factors that make an individual a good candidate for cataract surgery:
Diminished quality of life due to cataracts
We use our vision in almost every aspect of our lives. When cataracts cause a decrease in visual acuity, everyday activities such as driving, reading, and watching television may become more challenging. If cataracts are severely impacting your quality of life, cataract surgery may be an option to improve vision and restore your quality of life. Vision loss isn’t the only symptom of cataracts. Victims may also experience glares, halos around lights, double vision, and decreased color perception. These symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit an eye specialist to discuss surgery as a potential solution.
Stable eye health
The surgery to remove cataracts is generally a safe procedure, but patients must have healthy eyes before undergoing the operation. During the consultation, your eye doctor will rule out any co-occurring conditions that might put you at greater risk during and after surgery. One condition that may disqualify you from the surgery is glaucoma, a disease where the pressure inside your eyes is too high. A detached retina can also be a disqualifying issue because the surgery could cause further damage to the retina. Other conditions like diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration can make you ineligible for the procedure. A thorough eye exam is necessary for your eye doctor to ascertain the health of your eyes.
Good overall health
Your overall health can affect the success of cataract surgery, so you can expect a thorough medical history review during the consultation. Patients with certain pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure could be at greater risk of complications. Additional issues like a weakened immune system or a recent infection can increase the chances of post-operative problems. Some medications can interfere with healing time. Inform your doctor of any medications you are taking before scheduling the procedure. While this surgery can improve your vision, your eye doctor may not want to take the risk if your overall health could be negatively impacted by it.
Realistic expectations for the procedure
Cataract surgery isn’t a miracle cure that will turn your vision back to 20/20. The goal is to remove and replace the clouded lens with an artificial one. This can help bring your vision closer to what it was before the cataracts appeared. Your eye doctor can provide better insight into what you can expect from a successful surgery. Understand that even with the new lens, you may still need to wear glasses for reading or other activities. If you have any questions or concerns about what to expect from this surgery, mention them to your eye doctor.
Ability to follow pre- and post-op instructions
The success of cataract surgery depends on how well the patient follows the doctor’s instructions before and after the procedure. You may be asked to avoid certain medications or supplements that could interfere with healing. After surgery, you must take the prescribed medications and attend follow-up visits to verify your eyes are healing correctly. If you’re an individual who follows directions well and takes medication as prescribed, you may be a good candidate for cataract surgery.
What to expect during cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is a relatively straightforward procedure that takes place in an outpatient setting. Your eye surgeon will first make a tiny incision in the eye, then use ultrasound waves to break up and remove the cloudy lens. The next step is placing the intraocular lens in the eye and letting the eye heal. The procedure lasts only a few minutes and happens under local anesthesia. After the surgery, you may experience blurred vision as the eye adjusts to its new lens. Your doctor will provide instructions on how to care for your eye and prevent infection after surgery.
Visit an eye specialist for a consultation
If you think you may be a good candidate for cataract surgery, the first step is to visit an eye specialist. During the consultation, your doctor will assess your overall health and the condition of your eyes to determine if this procedure is right for you. They can also answer any questions or concerns you may have about the surgery. Contact your eye doctor today to learn more about cataracts and whether you are a good candidate for the surgery.
Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.