When Is The Right Time To Get Cataract Surgery? When It Begins To Hamper Your Routine Activities: Doctor

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens in the eye. Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in people above 50 years.Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the lens of your eye and replace it with an artificial lens

If impaired vision from cataracts is affecting your ability to carry out daily activities, like reading or driving, then cataract surgery is the best option. A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens in the eye and Dr Tushar Grover, Medical Director, Vision Eye Centre, New Delhi has opined that the traditional belief of waiting for the cataract to become ‘ripe’ or fully mature before planning surgery is no longer true. The current advanced technology is safest and most comfortable for the patient when it is done at the right time, and not when it is delayed up to the most advanced stages of cataract development. At the same time, very early cataracts which have no impact on vision may be observed and surgery deferred with frequent follow up by your treating eye surgeon.

As excessive heat and pollution already pose risk to ocular health, one must avoid cataracts during this season with timely treatment and care. Blindness due to cataracts is a big problem in India, not only in terms of human morbidity but also in terms of economic loss and social burden. According to the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey India 2015-19, cataract is the leading cause of blindness in people above 50 years.

“Normally, the lens of your eye is clear, but a cataract causes the lens to become cloudy, which eventually affects your vision. Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the lens of your eye and, in most cases, replace it with an artificial lens. We replace the affected lens with an intraocular lens to permanently correct the vision and these surgeries are very successful due to the latest technologies that are being used,” says Dr Tushar Grover, Medical Director, Vision Eye Centre, New Delhi.

While increasing age is considered a risk factor for cataracts in some, certain medications, diseases, and trauma can also cause them. Most cataracts develop slowly and do not cause noticeable problems with your eyesight early on. Your vision can get cloudy with time, and you may struggle to see clearly from both, distance and near. Affected persons also see halos or glare around lights, causing issues at night, particularly for those who drive frequently. An ophthalmologist is a person who can confirm that you have cataracts. Diagnosis involves testing vision and dilating eyes to determine the density of a cataract.

“Nothing can be done to prevent cataracts, but you may be able to slow their progression by protecting your eyes from sunlight and managing underlying conditions like diabetes. If left untreated, the condition may eventually block light from entering the eye and result in a loss of vision. Apart from that, complications related to cataract surgery are rare, and in most cases, these complications can be managed well by trained surgeons. The most dreadful complication is that of infection, which is why it is extremely important to avoid dust and water from entering the eyes for a week after surgery.” says Dr Grover.

In case one has cataracts in both eyes, then surgery is performed on the most affected eye first. Surgery for other eyes is conducted later. Laser-assisted cataract surgery adds an extra layer of safety and precision. Cataract surgery is a daycare procedure, which means you can go home the same day. Routine cataract surgery usually takes between 5 – 20 minutes, though complete healing may take two to six weeks.

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