Cataract surgery: To see or not to see?
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By Julie Ann Anderson  August 16, 2013 12:00 am

Nervous about cataract surgery?

With more than 3 million Americans receiving cataract surgery each year, you may be wondering if this issue will affect you or your loved one. Perhaps your doctor has told you that you need to undergo cataract surgery, but you are hesitant. What exactly are cataracts? What are the symptoms? What are the risks and benefits to having the surgery?

 

The facts about cataracts

The lens of the eye is made up mostly of water and protein. Cataracts can occur when the protein in the lens of the eye starts to clump together and forms a cloud. Many have described this effect as similar to looking through wax paper. Vision may also become blurry, colors may appear faded, night vision may become poor, and halos may appear around bright objects.

Nearly half of all Americans have cataracts by the age of 80. Therefore, the National Eye Institute recommends comprehensive eye exams every two years after the age of 60. An early diagnosis may reveal a simple change in eyeglass prescription may be sufficient to correct the problem. However, if that does not fix the issue, then surgery may be the answer.

 

Risks and benefits 

of cataract surgery

As with any surgery, there are inherent risks in cataract surgery, and you or your loved one may have some fears regarding the process. However, you may find that becoming well informed can readily put your mind at ease.

What are the associated risks? Cataract surgery may increase chances of retinal detachment, but only slightly so. Your doctor may also ask you to stop taking certain medications before the surgery. In addition, there may be chance of infection or bleeding, as is the case with most surgical procedures.

However, you and your loved one can be assured that cataract surgery has a very high success rate, with around 90 percent of people reporting better vision after the surgery. 

It is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States, as well as one of the safest and most effective. 

Recovery time is quick for most patients, with moderate symptoms such as fluid discharge and light sensitivity disappearing within one to two days. In fact, the majority of patients heal completely within eight weeks.

My father had this procedure done in both his eyes a few years ago. He was thrilled with the results and was so excited to be able to see the world clearly again. 

“The wonders and beauty of the world becomes perfectly clear again when your vision is restored.” he told me. 

“Almost nothing need be said when you have eyes.” 

This was a quote from one of his favorite authors, Tarjei Vesaas. In the end, only you and your doctor can decide whether cataract surgery is appropriate for you. Better vision may be just a blink of an eye away.

 

Julie Ann Anderson is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park; mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors and caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.

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