Cataracts, which occur naturally as part of the body’s aging process, can develop quite slowly. In the beginning, they may have little to no impact on vision at all. Being diagnosed with a cataract does not mean that surgery is imminent. In fact, many people live for years with a cataract before undergoing cataract surgery.
Over time, though, cataracts will grow larger, and the resulting loss of vision will begin to interfere with everyday life. Many people are left wondering, “When is the right time for cataract surgery?” The answer is a personal one, and there are many factors to consider.
Impact on Daily Life
The decision about when to undergo cataract surgery is largely up to you, in consultation with your eye doctor. Most doctors recommend removing the cataract when it begins to interfere with activities you enjoy or impacts your ability to safely perform everyday tasks. The more information you can provide your doctor, the better equipped he or she will be to help you decide.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does lack of contrast or visual clarity make it difficult for me to read or perform household activities like cooking or doing laundry?
- Do I avoid driving at night because of glare or seeing halos around lights?
- Have I stopped enjoying the outdoor activities I used to love such as walking, hiking or golf because of visual constraints?
- Have I stopped participating in hobbies that bring me joy, such as sewing, knitting or photography because of visual constraints?
- Do I feel that decreased vision has led to increased dependence on my friends and family?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a cataract and answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to begin discussing cataract surgery with your eye doctor.
Could New Glasses Help?
During a complete eye exam, your doctor will perform vision tests as well as evaluate the physical nature of your cataract, for example its size. It is possible that a new glasses prescription might be able to correct your vision and resolve or minimize your visual complaints. If this is the case, your doctor may conclude that cataract surgery is not yet needed. But when glasses no longer have an effect, it may be time to consider surgery to remove the cataract.
Is it too early for cataract surgery? Is it too late?
It’s common to ask about the impact of having cataract surgery too early or too late. The truth is that a cataract can be removed at any stage of development. However, when it comes to removing a cataract “too early,” most insurance companies have specific criteria that determine when an eye doctor can remove a cataract. They may only cover the procedure after visual impairment has reached a specified stage or when other visual symptoms become debilitating.
It is also important to consider that a cataract that has matured can be very thick and more difficult to remove. A more considerable “risk” of postponing cataract surgery, though, may be postponing quality of life. Most patients report that they regret waiting as long as they did because cataract surgery greatly improved their everyday lives.
The IC-8 lens advantage
If you’ve been diagnosed with a cataract, discuss with your doctor the best lens replacement option for you. The IC-8 lens offers advantages over traditional monofocal and multifocal intraocular lenses. It is designed to provide a natural range of vision from near to far, including mid-range vision needed to read a computer screen. With the IC-8 lens, one may achieve continuous and seamless vision at all distances. Learn more about the IC-8 lens.