Most people will develop a cataract during their lifetime. It is just part of growing older. Thanks to medical technology and talented surgeons, cataracts and vision loss are no longer synonymous. Cataract surgery is now one of the most common and successful surgeries performed in the United States. A skilled surgeon can remove a clouded, deteriorated lens and replace it with a clear, artificial lens (IOL) with multiple capabilities.
Unfortunately, not every candidate for cataract surgery chooses this elective procedure. Whether deterred by cost or fear of the unknown, some individuals decline surgery. Others may deny that the cataract is affecting their eyesight because cataract-related vision loss can be very gradual.
If you have a cataract and choose not to have it removed, this is what to expect. The cataract will continue to grow larger and cloud more surface area of the lens. This clouded area distorts the light that passes through the lens, and eventually you will begin noticing symptoms such as:
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Double vision in a single eye
Over time, cataracts will distort your vision so significantly that you will lose the ability to do activities that you enjoy, such as reading, driving, operating machinery and equipment, or doing intricate crafts. This can lead to frustration and depression, and possibly put you or others in danger.
Unlike other eye diseases that may cause permanent eye damage, cataracts can be removed and vision usually improves. There is no reason to delay having cataract surgery because the sooner you have the clouded lens removed, the sooner you can enjoy clear vision again. Scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams with your ophthalmologist will help you stay informed about the progression of your cataracts (as well as other eye conditions) so you can make the best decision about scheduling cataract removal when necessary (Source: Mayo Clinic).