When Should You Have Cataracts Removed?
If you are age 60 or over, you may have cataracts, which are not a disease but a normal part of aging. In fact, 25 million Americans have some degree of cataract. By the time you reach age 75, your cataracts are likely causing significant vision interference. If you’re wondering when you should have cataracts removed, come in and see us at Elmquist Eye Group.
What Causes Cataracts?
As people age, the natural proteins of the eye begin to break down. As they do, the proteins clump together and cloud the lens, which interferes with light passing through the eye to the retina. As a result, many people have difficulty reading, watching television or driving at night. Nearly 20 percent of adults over age 40 have already begun to develop a cataract in one or both eyes.
Cataracts are influenced by genetics, lifestyle choices and environmental factors. Cataracts usually have a very slow progression, but can develop more quickly if caused by eye injury or illness, or excessive exposure to radiation.
What are the stages of cataracts?
Cataracts are classified as either early or late stage. In the early stages, cataracts are relatively small in size; because of this, they usually do not interfere with vision early on. Actually, most people don’t even know they have a cataract because they have no symptoms. Annual eye exams are important for early detection and also for monitoring the progression of the cataract. The earlier our expert team at Elmquist Eye Group can diagnose your cataract, the better we can monitor your eye health.
As cataracts reach the later stages, vision starts to be impaired. You might begin to experience blurred or cloudy vision. Some patients have double vision. Most of our patients first notice problems while driving at night; they begin to see an intense glare or halos forming around oncoming headlights. As the cataract progresses, some people become more sensitive to sunlight. Objects may have a yellowish tint and colors may not seem as vibrant.
In the late stages, you can actually see your cataract. Looking in the mirror, you will see a milky white spot covering the lens. In the late stages, the entire lens can sometimes become clouded, leading to significant vision issues while driving, watching television or reading.
How are cataracts treated?
In the early stages, our Elmquist team can make more frequent changes to your glasses or contact lens prescription. However, at the later stages, surgery is the only real way to treat a cataract. This surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the world today. During the procedure, the surgeon safely and effectively removes your cloudy lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant. We can even correct your vision with the IOL.
Left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to total blindness; they are the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the world today. We don’t want you to wait too long and lose your precious eyesight.
Now that you understand the early and late stages, come in to get our opinion on when you should have your cataracts removed. Give us a call today at Elmquist Eye Group. We’ve been serving Southwest Florida for 25 years, and we are ready for you to be our next cataract patient. We have convenient locations in both Fort Myers and Cape Coral, so come in and see us today.