When is the right time to have cataract surgery?

American Academy of Ophthalmology offers tips to help people considering whether to have the procedure.


SAN FRANCISCO, -- Nearly 25.7 million Americans over age 40 have cataracts and the number is projected to increase to 45.6 million by 2050. While the only way to remove cataracts – a clouding of the eye's lens – is surgery, the right time to have surgery depends on the individual patient. In support of Cataract Awareness Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is offering tips for those who have been diagnosed with cataracts as they consider whether to have surgery to remove them and when.


The American Academy of Ophthalmology has developed a list of four questions people should consider to help determine if they're ready for cataract surgery:


Are your cataracts impacting your daily or occupational activities?

Symptoms of cataracts include dim, blurry or yellowed vision and can even double vision in a single eye. The lack of contrast and clarity can be difficult for those who need clear vision for work, driving or who enjoy hobbies like reading, cooking or sewing.


Are your cataracts affecting your ability to drive safely at night?

Cataracts can cause halos around lights and difficulty seeing in low-light settings, impacting the ability to safely drive at night. Advanced cataracts can even cause enough vision loss to fail the vision test required for a driver's license.


Are your cataracts interfering with the outdoor activities you enjoy?

Cataracts can also increase sensitivity to glare, which can be especially troublesome for those who enjoy skiing, surfing and a number of other outdoors activities. They can also cause visual differences from one eye to the other, which can affect the distance vision golfers need.


Can you manage your cataracts in other ways?

Those who decide to put off cataract surgery can make the most of their vision with a few simple tools, such as incorporating brighter lighting and contrasting colors in the home. Polarized sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat can reduce glare, while magnifying lenses can make reading easier.


Cataract surgery is only recommended when the outcome is expected to improve vision, unless the cataracts obscure treatments for other eye diseases. Those considering cataract surgery should discuss how cataracts are affecting their daily lives with an ophthalmologist. (SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology)


Photo: American Academy of Ophthalmology





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