Can I Live Without Treatment for Cataracts?
Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions in the world. They occur when the lens of the eye develops cloudy patches. Although cataracts may not seem serious at first, they can go on to have serious consequences for your vision.
What are Cataracts?
The lens of the eye is mostly made up of water and protein. The protein is structured in a very precise way which keeps the lens clear and enables light to pass through, allowing us to see. As we get older, the protein begins to move around and clump together, causing misty clouds to develop. It is these clouds that are known as cataracts.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Most people with cataracts compare their vision to looking through frosted glass. This means that their vision is blurred, and it is harder to focus. Other symptoms of cataracts include colors appearing faded, poor night vision, difficulty tolerating bright lights and seeing two or more images from one eye.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they are suffering from cataracts as it can take some time for their vision to be adversely affected. Attending regular eye exams is the best way to ensure that cataracts are detected as early as possible.
If you have been diagnosed with a cataract, it is important to know your options. You may even be wondering if you need to have treatment for your cataract at all.
Is Treatment for Cataracts Really Necessary?
First, it is important to be aware that a cataract is not in any way life-threatening and will have no impact on your overall health. However, if it isn’t treated, it will inevitably become vision-threatening and impact your quality of life. This is because, over time, the cataract will continue to grow, clouding more and more of the natural lens of the eye until you can no longer see clearly enough to function.
Cataracts usually appear in both eyes, although they won’t necessarily develop at the same rate. This means that you could have better vision in one eye than the other. However, eventually, both will become completely clouded, causing you to become legally or totally blind. As you might expect, this will have a huge impact on your day to day life, as you will find it difficult or impossible to perform certain functions. You will no longer be allowed to drive, and you may find even the simplest task challenging.
When Should Treatment for a Cataract be Sought?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict exactly how fast a cataract will develop. For this reason, it is important to seek treatment right away. Often, a change to your eyeglass prescription can provide a temporary improvement in your vision. Applying an anti-reflective coating to eyewear will also help reduce symptoms such as glare when driving at night. However, eventually, cataract patients are recommended to have surgery to replace the clouded lens.
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed ocular surgeries in the world. This simple procedure involves removing the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an artificial alternative. The entire process usually takes less than an hour and you will be able to go home the same day since it is usually performed using a local anesthetic.
If you have cataracts in both eyes, you will be recommended to have two separate surgeries. This is because it can take up to 6 weeks for your eyes to adjust to wearing the new artificial lens.
If you have questions about cataracts, our dedicated eye care team would be happy to help. Contact our Ophthalmology office in Queens, NY today to schedule a consultation.