Will I Go Blind If I Don’t Have Cataract Surgery?
- Posted on: Sep 25 2020
As Healthy Aging Awareness month comes to an end, we wanted to share some information about another big question we hear from our aging patients: “Will I go blind If I don’t have cataract surgery?”
The answer to this question essentially is yes. If a cataract goes without treatment, total blindness can occur.
Now, before that sounds overly alarming, let’s back up and give you some helpful statistics.
How common are cataracts?
Since almost everyone will develop a cataract if we live long enough, it’s not surprising that cataracts affect over 24.4 million Americans according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This equates to one in six people above age 40. By the time Americans reach 80 years old, more than half of them will have a cataract. Children and young adults can have cataracts as well, due to various issues, but this is less common.
Do a lot of people choose to have cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the US.
What is a cataract and how do we treat them?
The natural lens behind the iris (the brown, blue, or green part of the eye) is clear when we’re born, but it becomes cloudy over time. When it becomes cloudy, it is called a cataract. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the cloudy lens, which is replaced with a clear artificial lens implant or what we refer to as an IOL (intraocular lens).
How old are patients usually when they need surgery?
The average age of a patient needing cataract surgery is approximately 60 years old. However, every patient’s eyes and needs are different. Dr. Stephen Slade and Dr. Bennett Walton have performed cataract surgery on very young people all the way up to those in their 90’s.
Most people benefit from cataract surgery when their activities become limited. So, when driving feels a little less safe at night, when the golf ball is harder to see, or hobbies become a little tougher, it might be time for cataract surgery. For most people, it’s not an emergency.
Do I have to wait until I have a cataract to get a lens replacement surgery?
No. Many people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s choose to have their lenses replaced to be more independent from glasses or contacts even before cataracts develop. As a result, cataract surgery won’t be necessary in the future, and they don’t have to go through the frustrating, gradual blur of developing cataracts.
What is the “ONE thing we wish all cataract patients knew”?
We asked our doctors at Slade & Baker Vision this question and these were their answers:
“I wish everyone knew that cataract surgery is a wonderful chance to use advanced technology and Slade & Baker expertise to not only remove the cataract, but to focus on a personalized, lifestyle-improving vision strategy. Our happiest patients are usually the ones who have a full range of vision.”
“I wish all cataract patients knew that most people have some degree of dryness in the cornea and the tear film (80% have at least one abnormal dryness testing result). Patients don’t notice this while the cataract is in place, but the post-op improved vision allows many people to see that their vision is still limited by dryness. Some people are surprised to hear that they need to work on their dry eye (ocular surface or tear film) either before or after surgery for the best vision.”
“I wish patients with glaucoma knew that they could have a minimally invasive glaucoma procedure at the same time as their cataract surgery to potentially lower their eye pressure or reduce their dependence on glaucoma medication drops.”
If you would like to learn more about the potential causes of a cataract, please visit our Cataract Page.
If you would like to see the different cataract surgery options we offer at Slade & Baker Vision, please visit our Cataract Surgery Page, and finally, to learn more about Laser Cataract Surgery, please visit our Laser Cataract Surgery Page.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a cataract or you are experiencing any loss of vision or blurred vision, please do not hesitate to call our office at 713-626-5544 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.