Approximately 18% of people in the United States over the age of 40 have cataracts, according to the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. 61% of people with cataracts are women, 39% men. Because of the prevalence of cataracts among the U.S. population, cataract surgery is one of the most common eye treatments. As is the case with many patients we see, you may have questions about cataracts and cataract surgery.
What are Cataracts?
The underlying symptom of cataracts is increasingly blurry vision, particularly in a person over the age of 60. A cataract occurs because protein builds up in the lens of a person’s eye. The buildup impairs the ability of light to pass through an eye lens, causing vision to blur.
Age-related cataracts are most common. Other causes of cataracts include a congenital defect, a secondary condition caused by some other medical issues, and trauma.
How are Cataracts Treated?
Despite a good deal of misinformation to contrary, the symptoms cataracts cannot be “cleared” or eliminated through the use of drops or something along those lines. Although cataracts sometimes are referred to as a film over an eye, that is not the case. A cataract affects an eye lens itself. Because cataracts affect the lens, it has to be removed and replaced.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure performed in an eye doctor’s office. The surgery itself takes about 15 minutes in most cases. A person undergoing cataract surgery typically spends between three to four hours total at an eye doctor’s office.
Cataract surgery is a painless, bloodless procedure. Local anesthesia is used for this type of surgery, and the affected lens is removed and replaced during the quick procedure.
Cataract surgery is performed one eye at a time. A person may experience some blurriness after surgery that will dissipate in a short amount of time. In some cases an individual may also experience slight itchiness and increased sensitivity to light. Typically, these are short-term symptoms.
Following cataract surgery, a person takes special eyedrops for a relatively short period of time. The eyedrops are designed to prevent infection, control eye pressure, and reduce inflammation.
Will I Have to Wear Glasses after Cataract Surgery?
In some cases people are able to reduce their reliance on reading glasses and bifocals. Thanks to the advanced devices that are available to cataract patients, we can now perform cataract surgery to clear blurry vision and correct certain vision errors at the same time.
If you have concerns or questions about cataracts, cataract surgery, or some other eye care issue, the eye doctors at Matossian Eye Associates are eager to assist. You can schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors by calling (800) 708-8800 at your convenience, or visit our appointment request form. An eye doctor from our team can provide you more information about cataracts and associated surgery as well as care for your essential eye care needs.