At Eye Surgical Associates, we understand the struggles of living with cataracts – and we are here to help! Still, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before you go into any type of surgery, and as with any medical procedure, there is no shortage of misconceptions surrounding cataract surgery. We hear hundreds of questions from curious patients about cataracts and cataract surgery, and our team of Bloomington ophthalmologists put their heads together to answer some of the most common questions from our patients.
Are cataracts common?
Yes. By age 65, over 90% of Americans have a cataract, whether mild or severe. The only cure for cataracts is to remove them through cataract surgery. Cataract surgery has evolved enough to be safe, reliable, and easy (for a trained professional).
Is cataract surgery dangerous?
Cataract surgery is among the safest surgeries performed today. Though it’s true that any surgery poses risks and may create complications, cataract surgery boasts over a 98% success rate, and becomes safer each year as the technology behind it advances.
Most patients don’t experience any side effects from cataract surgery. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes, half of which is just recovering from the anesthesia. Afterwards, you will be given special sunglasses and eyedrops and sent home where you will be able to rest (make sure you have someone to drive you!)
Is cataract surgery painful?
In short – no! During the surgery, your eye will be completely numbed with a topical anesthetic. At most you may feel a slight pressure. Recovery is also very easy and painless. You may experience mild irritation, but this should go away within a couple days as your eye heals. Typically, you should be seeing clearly within a few hours, but it could take a couple of weeks to fully restore vision.
Can cataracts be prevented?
Cataracts are a naturally occurring process, and cannot be avoided. They simply come with age. However, there are plenty of ways to slow down the process.
- First, quit (or avoid starting) smoking. Smoking creates a myriad of health problems, and cataracts are on that list. In the same vein, avoid excessive drinking, as this has also been attributed to an increase in the risk of cataracts.
- Be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat and proper sunglasses with 100% UV protection. Sunglasses without UV protection are more damaging to eyes than wearing no sunglasses at all.
- Eat a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals is crucial for maintaining good eye health. If you have diabetes, be it type 1 or type 2, it is also important to keep your blood sugar under control.
Above all, early detection is the key to treating any medical problems. Regular eye checkups are critical to ensuring good eye health, including cataracts. Eye Surgical Associates in Champaign and Bloomington, Illinois has an expert staff that will help you understand what you need to preserve your vision. If you are above the age of 50, be sure to schedule your annual eye exam with us! Click here to schedule yours – and check out our blog on ways to help keep your vision sharp.
Do cataracts only occur in older people?
While it’s true that cataracts are mostly found in people over the age of 65, younger people with certain conditions can develop cataracts earlier than others. Diabetes, certain eye diseases, certain types of steroid medication, and genetics can be a factor of early onset cataracts. Babies can sometimes be born with cataracts (this rare condition is called congenital cataracts).
Do cataracts spread from one eye to the other?
No – cataracts cannot spread. They are formed independently in one or both eyes, sometimes at the same time, but not necessarily.