How Do You Know When It’s Time To Have Cataract Surgery?

June 28, 2024
How-Do-You-Know-When-It's-Time-To-Have-Cataract-Surgery

Cataracts, a common eye condition, are seen in older population.. The cloudiness in the natural lens scatters and interferes with the light as it passes through the lens, making it difficult for you to see properly. 

With a success rate in improving vision in about 97% of patients, cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure and a medical miracle that helps to make your eyesight better. In this post, we will talk about the signs to look out for and understand how to know when it’s time to have cataract surgery. Let’s learn about the essential steps in preserving eye health and ensuring a better quality of life.

Understanding Cataract

People often struggle to understand what cataracts are and how they are treated. We have a natural lens or crystalline lens inside our eyes that bends or refracts light rays to help us see. The lens is supposed to be clear. However, if the natural lens starts to get blurred, causing clouded vision, then it is because of cataracts. It is a very common eye disease that occurs as you get older. For people with this condition, seeing is like peeking through a snowy or fogged-up glass. It makes seeing things clearly extremely difficult. Mainly, cataracts grow slowly over time and don’t bother eyesight early on. But with time, it catches up to affect eyesight.

Stronger lighting and spectacles can help with cataracts at first. But if poor eyesight concerns increase and start to affect usual activities, then cataract surgery might be the solution. This surgery is generally a safe, effective method to restore excellent vision.

How to Tell If You Need Cataract Surgery?

Once you have accustomed yourself to what cataracts are and how they are treated, you would know that surgery is one of the most effective treatments. But how to tell if you need cataract surgery? Here are key signs to watch out for:

1. Blurred Vision: One of the earliest and most common symptoms of cataracts is blurred or cloudy vision. As cataracts progress, the lens of your eye becomes more opaque, making it difficult to see clearly. If you notice that your eyesight is always blurry, it might be time to consider surgery.

2. Difficulty Seeing in Low Light: Cataracts can cause problems with night vision. If you find it increasingly hard to see when driving at night or in dimly lit environments, this could be a sign that cataracts are interfering with your vision. Night driving can become particularly dangerous, so timely surgery is crucial for your safety and the safety of others.

3. Glare and Halos: Another common symptom of cataracts is increased sensitivity to light and glare. You might notice halos around lights or experience significant glare from headlights, lamps, or sunlight. This can be particularly bothersome when driving at night or in bright environments.

4. Frequent Prescription Changes: If you need to update your spectacles or contact lens prescription more often than usual, this could indicate that your cataracts are worsening. Cataracts can cause rapid changes in vision, making it difficult to find a stable prescription that provides clear sight.

5. Colour Changes: Cataracts can affect how you perceive colours. You might notice that colours appear faded or yellowed. This happens because the clouding of the lens filters the light entering your eye, altering your colour perception.

6. Double Vision: Experiencing double vision in one eye is a less common but significant symptom of cataracts. This occurs when the cataract distorts the light entering the eye, leading to multiple images being formed.

7. Second Sight: Some people with cataracts temporarily experience improved near vision, a phenomenon known as “second sight.” However, this improvement is usually short-lived and followed by a further decline in vision.

So to answer your question, how do you know when it’s time to have cataract surgery? The answer is simple. Any or a few of the above-mentioned symptoms should be a crucial prompt for getting an appointment with an eye specialist and getting your eyes checked.

Who Should Consider Cataract Surgery?

Your ophthalmologist in Adelaide will probably suggest cataract surgery if you have eyesight loss. If the loss of vision starts to affect your everyday activities like reading, driving, or even watching TV, your doctor is likely to recommend surgery. Also, even if your cataracts aren’t the main reason behind your vision problems, you might still want to consider consulting a professional. 

When Is It Time to Have Cataract Surgery?

Certain demographic groups are at bigger risk for developing cataracts and may need surgery. For example, the odds of requiring cataract surgery increase in people with diabetes, or even those with a history of extensive UV exposure. Determining when you should get cataract surgery also depends on the progression of your cataracts and how they affect your vision and daily activities. Cataracts develop gradually over time, causing the lens of the eye to become increasingly cloudy. Initially, you may not notice significant changes in your vision, but as cataracts worsen, symptoms become more pronounced. Regular monitoring of cataract development is essential for timely intervention. 

Top 9 Signs You Need Cataract Surgery

A research study on the prevalence of visually significant cataracts in Australia found that only 54.8% of non-Indigenous Australians and 38.9% of Indigenous Australians with visually significant cataracts self-reported a known history of cataracts. This means, there is a significant gap in cataract awareness and the signs to look out for. To opt for proper treatment it is important to know what are the signs and when is the right time to have cataract surgery. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be time to consider cataract surgery:

1. Blurred Vision: Persistent cloudiness or blurriness in one or both eyes cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

2. Difficulty Seeing at Night: Grown difficulty driving at night due to glare from approaching street lights or headlights.

3. Frequent Changes in Prescription: Need to frequently update your spectacles or contact lens prescription as your eyesight weakens

4. Sensitivity to Light: Increased or more sensitivity to light or glare, making it uncomfortable to be in brightly lit environments.

5. Halos Around Lights: Seeing halos or glare around lights, particularly at night or in low-light conditions.

6. Second Sight: Experiencing temporary improvement in near vision, known as “second sight,” before vision deteriorates further.

7. Double Vision: Seeing double images can deter daily activities such as reading or driving.

8. Changes in Colour Perception: Colours may appear faded or yellowed, affecting your ability to distinguish between different hues.

9. Difficulty with Contrast: Reduced ability to distinguish between shades of colours or contrast, making it challenging to see objects clearly.

Conclusion

Symptoms like blurred vision, double vision, and difficulty in seeing in low light are sure signs that you need cataract surgery. It is important to see a doctor at the earliest if you notice any of them. Remember, cataracts progress slowly over time, and symptoms may worsen gradually. But detecting them at the right time and considering cataract eye treatment in Adelaide can make all the difference. Don’t delay reaching out to a professional if you notice any signs– your eyes will thank you!

FAQ’s For When It’s Time To Have Cataract Surgery?

What steps should I take if I suspect I may need cataract surgery?

If you suspect you may need cataract surgery, talk to your eye doctor as soon as possible for a complete eye exam to assess your condition, and the doctor will guide you through the following steps.

Dr. Swati Sinkar

Dr. Swati Sinkar is a dedicated and experienced General Ophthalmologist with a special interest in cataract surgery, Pterygium surgery, eyelid malpositions, glaucoma treatment, Macular degeneration treatment, and paediatric ophthalmic conditions. She has been extensively trained in Australia and overseas and was awarded a Fellowship from RANZCO in 2015. Passionate about preventing paediatric blindness, she established neonatal screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity in Northern Adelaide at Lyell McEwin Hospital. Dr. Sinkar mentors trainees, teaches internationally, and values evidence-based medicine, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. Outside work, she enjoys cooking, travel, cricket, and badminton.

How often should I undergo eye exams to monitor my cataracts and determine if surgery is needed?

Regular eye exams are advised, particularly as you age or if you have risk factors for cataracts.

Dr. Swati Sinkar

Dr. Swati Sinkar is a dedicated and experienced General Ophthalmologist with a special interest in cataract surgery, Pterygium surgery, eyelid malpositions, glaucoma treatment, Macular degeneration treatment, and paediatric ophthalmic conditions. She has been extensively trained in Australia and overseas and was awarded a Fellowship from RANZCO in 2015. Passionate about preventing paediatric blindness, she established neonatal screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity in Northern Adelaide at Lyell McEwin Hospital. Dr. Sinkar mentors trainees, teaches internationally, and values evidence-based medicine, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. Outside work, she enjoys cooking, travel, cricket, and badminton.

Are there any specific risk factors that suggest I should consider cataract surgery?

Specific risk factors include advanced age, a family history of cataracts, certain medical conditions like diabetes, prolonged exposure to UV radiation, smoking, and previous eye injuries or surgeries.

Dr. Swati Sinkar

Dr. Swati Sinkar is a dedicated and experienced General Ophthalmologist with a special interest in cataract surgery, Pterygium surgery, eyelid malpositions, glaucoma treatment, Macular degeneration treatment, and paediatric ophthalmic conditions. She has been extensively trained in Australia and overseas and was awarded a Fellowship from RANZCO in 2015. Passionate about preventing paediatric blindness, she established neonatal screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity in Northern Adelaide at Lyell McEwin Hospital. Dr. Sinkar mentors trainees, teaches internationally, and values evidence-based medicine, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. Outside work, she enjoys cooking, travel, cricket, and badminton.

How do I know if my cataracts have progressed to a point where surgery is necessary?

Your eye doctor can determine the progression of your cataracts during routine eye exams. If your vision impairment starts to affect your daily activities significantly, it may be time to consider surgery.

Dr. Swati Sinkar

Dr. Swati Sinkar is a dedicated and experienced General Ophthalmologist with a special interest in cataract surgery, Pterygium surgery, eyelid malpositions, glaucoma treatment, Macular degeneration treatment, and paediatric ophthalmic conditions. She has been extensively trained in Australia and overseas and was awarded a Fellowship from RANZCO in 2015. Passionate about preventing paediatric blindness, she established neonatal screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity in Northern Adelaide at Lyell McEwin Hospital. Dr. Sinkar mentors trainees, teaches internationally, and values evidence-based medicine, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. Outside work, she enjoys cooking, travel, cricket, and badminton.

What are the typical symptoms that indicate a need for cataract surgery?

Symptoms include blurry or cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night, increased sensitivity to light, seeing halos around lights, frequent changes in prescription, double vision, and difficulty distinguishing colours.

Dr. Swati Sinkar

Dr. Swati Sinkar is a dedicated and experienced General Ophthalmologist with a special interest in cataract surgery, Pterygium surgery, eyelid malpositions, glaucoma treatment, Macular degeneration treatment, and paediatric ophthalmic conditions. She has been extensively trained in Australia and overseas and was awarded a Fellowship from RANZCO in 2015. Passionate about preventing paediatric blindness, she established neonatal screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity in Northern Adelaide at Lyell McEwin Hospital. Dr. Sinkar mentors trainees, teaches internationally, and values evidence-based medicine, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. Outside work, she enjoys cooking, travel, cricket, and badminton.

Dr. Swati Sinkar

Dr. Swati Sinkar is a dedicated and experienced General Ophthalmologist with a special interest in cataract surgery, Pterygium surgery, eyelid malpositions, glaucoma treatment, Macular degeneration treatment, and paediatric ophthalmic conditions. She has been extensively trained in Australia and overseas and was awarded a Fellowship from RANZCO in 2015. Passionate about preventing paediatric blindness, she established neonatal screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity in Northern Adelaide at Lyell McEwin Hospital. Dr. Sinkar mentors trainees, teaches internationally, and values evidence-based medicine, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. Outside work, she enjoys cooking, travel, cricket, and badminton.

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