So, you’ve been diagnosed with a cataract. You are not alone. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that there are approximately 50 million people are suffering from vision problems as a result of cataracts.
Of course, the thing about cataracts is that in the beginning they may not cause issues that interfere with daily activities. Colors may appear dull or extra light might be needed to read or to work on a computer. But as they develop, cataracts can cause more symptoms and interfere more and more with everyday life. This is when doctors usually recommend cataract surgery.
But what if you ignore the symptoms or the doctor’s advice? As the result from cataracts, vision problems can have serious consequences. Here are just a few:
Eventually, the clouding from a cataract can become severe enough to cause blurred vision. And blurred vision can be dangerous, even for the most fit among us. From climbing stairs to doing laundry, there are endless ways that blurred vision can be (and is) the cause of falls or household accidents that cause injury.
When cataracts disrupt your ability to perform everyday tasks, like cooking or reading, you miss out on so many opportunities. You may tell yourself that you’re not all that interested in trying out a new recipe. But you may seriously regret some of those missed opportunities, for example not reading to your grandchildren.
Becoming socially withdrawn
Let’s face it, our vision is by far the most important sense. When we lose the ability to see clearly, we lose the ability to interact with the world around us in the same way we used to. For many people, withdrawing socially is a natural response. When you can no longer enjoy going to the movies, or when going to a restaurant or a party become too difficult, the easy thing to do is to simply decline.
Inability to drive at night
At first, cataracts may interfere with driving at night due to a loss of vision clarity in dim lighting. But as cataracts worsen, things like glare from oncoming headlights or seeing starbursts or halos around lights may make it impossible to drive after dark without risking an accident.
Missing out on things that bring you joy
Many things that bring people joy are dependent on clear vision. Things like crafts, playing cards, cooking, gardening, watching sports, and reading become increasingly difficult as cataracts progress. You may tell yourself that giving these up is just a natural part of aging, but shouldn’t you continue to do the things you love at every age?
The idea of cataract surgery may be scary for some people. That’s a normal response. But the truth is that cataract surgery is one of the safest, most common, and most effective surgeries performed worldwide. The surgery typically lasts about 20 minutes and most people can resume normal activities fairly quickly. And the best part is that after cataract surgery, you likely experience an improvement in both your vision and your quality of life.
Don’t ignore cataract symptoms. Schedule an eye examination with a qualified doctor. Unfortunately, the symptoms will not resolve by themselves. But if you and your doctor decide that cataract surgery is right for you, you will probably find that afterwards you will both see and feel better.