As we age, most people are resigned to the fact that there is a good chance that, sooner or later, they will have to deal with cataracts. That seems to be a fair assumption. Every year, just in the U.S., more than a million people are told by their eye care professionals that they have cataracts, and it is likely that many more are experiencing the effects without having them officially diagnosed. Just because cataracts are common does not mean that they should be taken lightly, as they are the leading cause of blindness, worldwide.
Most cataracts, which are actually the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, develop slowly and cause little interference with vison in the beginning. Over time, the cloudiness gets increasingly more pronounced until it is like trying to look through a foggy or frost-covered pane of glass. Obviously, by this point, eyesight has become significantly impaired, making it difficult to read, recognize people and actually dangerous to drive, especially at night.
For most people, eyesight changes over the years. Some of the things to watch for that indicate those changes may be related to cataracts are:
No matter what age, few things are more frightening than losing our vision. The good news is that, while cataracts can lead to blindness if left untreated, cataract replacement surgery is one of the most common and successful procedures performed today. The surgery consists of removing and replacing the clouded lens with a clear artificial one called an intraocular lens (IOL), which remains a permanent part of the eye. Typically done on an outpatient basis, not only is the patient home the same day but more than 95 percent report that they see better afterward.
There are cases where patients have cataracts in both eyes and each is at the stage where it has been determined that cataract replacement surgery is warranted. Most doctors, especially in the U.S., will not do the surgery in both eyes, known as simultaneous bilateral cataract surgery, on the same day. The reason for this is primarily the risk of infection or other type of complication occurring in both eyes at the same time. Also, it is believed that performing the surgery as separate events with a period of time in between allows the surgeon time to evaluate the outcome of the first surgery and make any adjustments, like choosing a different type of IOL, that might improve the second.
If you are having issues with cataracts, Long Island Ophthalmic Concepts is ready to provide high-quality, comprehensive care in our four convenient Long Island office locations. For more information about cataracts, or if you have other questions or comments, please call the office most convenient to you, Bellmore, Great Neck, Little Neck or Huntington. If you would like to schedule an appointment, simply click here to go to our online scheduler.