If you were recently told you have cataracts, you may have a lot of questions. This is completely normal!
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process for everyone. In fact, everyone will eventually get cataracts if they live long enough.
What is a cataract?
The eye is like a camera. There is a lens in the front of the eye, behind the colored part of the eye, which focuses light on the retina, the camera film of the eye.
Naturally, we can see through this lens due to its regular structure. Over time, this structure breaks down and the lens loses its transparency, forming a cataract. This cloudiness leads to a reduction in vision. This vision loss is similar to losing the ability to see through a foggy windshield.
Many people who have a cataract don’t realize they have one at first. This is because cataract development takes time. You could develop a cataract in your forties but not notice any visual changes for decades!
This makes completing everyday activities like reading, driving, especially at night, watching TV or using your phone almost impossible!
What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most popular procedures performed in the world! Although it is a popular procedure, many people don’t know what cataract surgery even is, or how it works.
Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens from your eye and replacing with an IOL (intraocular lens implant.)
What are IOLs?
Once the dysfunctional lens is removed, an artificial lens is inserted to replace part or all of its function.
There are several IOLs to choose from, which can provide different opportunities to restore lens function.
Standard IOLs vs. Premium IOLs:
When it comes to picking the right IOL for you, it’s important to understand how they work and why.
If you don’t mind wearing glasses after cataract surgery, a monofocal IOL may be right for you. With monofocal IOLs, there is only one distancing focus.
This is either for near vision, or distance vision. As a result, you’ll need to wear glasses to make up for what you can’t see up close or far away. You may need glasses some or even all of the time. Much of cataract surgery with a monofocal IOL is covered by major medical health insurance.
With multifocal IOLs, you can see up close and far away. This increases your freedom from glasses! Because you can see at both distances, multifocal IOLs are premium lens options. This means that they are more expensive than the standard monofocal IOLs.
Toric IOLs help to correct astigmatism and reduce the likelihood for the need to wear glasses after cataract surgery. Glasses for reading may still be needed after cataract surgery. Toric IOLs are premium lens options and are also more expensive than standard monofocal IOLs.
You can help your doctor choose the right IOL for you!
How do I know when I need cataract surgery?
Unlike other eye conditions, there are symptoms and signs to watch out for with cataracts. The most obvious way to know you need cataract surgery is if you experience blurry vision.
Another classic sign is experiencing yellow or brown tinted vision. With cataracts, vision that was once clear may feel like looking at everything in sepia film.
One of the more dangerous cataract symptoms is difficulty seeing at night. With cataracts, you may experience light sensitivity, halos, and glare.
When these difficulties are combined with driving at night, it’s a recipe for disaster! If you’re having any of these symptoms, stop driving!
Driving at night when you can’t see everything makes you a danger to yourself and anyone else on the road.
If you are experiencing difficulties with your daily activities because of your vision, call your eye doctor and make an appointment as soon as possible if you believe you may have cataracts.
Contact Tuscaloosa Ophthalmology in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for a cataract consultation today!