Should you consider cataract surgery?
Vision loss is something no one wants to experience, but as people age, their health naturally declines. For about 17 million Americans, vision loss is caused by cataracts or the clouding of the lens that sits in the middle of the eye.
The lens is a pimple-shaped structure which is clear and soft when we are young and becomes yellowish to brown as we age, according to Dr. Michael Peter Weisberg, an ophthalmologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago.
“There aren’t any well-defined things you can do to prevent cataracts, but probably the most helpful thing would be to limit exposure to UV and sunlight,” says Dr. Weisberg. “Nothing can reverse a cataract other than performing surgery and taking out the cataract and replacing it with new clear lens.”
The National Eye Institute says cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the U.S. and is one of the most effective types of surgery. In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterward.
A couple days after surgery, doctors say their patients might experience some common symptoms such as fluid discharge, eye irritation or sensitivity to light and touch. Eye drops may be recommended to assist with the healing and decrease the possibility of infection. Recovery is expected within eight weeks and a small percentage of people experience bleeding, inflammation, or loss of vision. Cataract surgery patients may need new glasses or contact lenses before they can resume driving.
Dr. Weisberg says patients can return quickly to many everyday activities but the healing eye needs time to adjust to focus properly.
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