May 01, 2014

Cataract surgery

Choose the time

Cataract surgery

If you're an older adult, it may seem as if just about everyone your age is having cataract surgery. Some degree of vision clouding caused by cataracts occurs in most people as they age, with many experiencing significant vision loss. In fact, cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed on U.S. adults older than 65.

The most common type of cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, involving minimal anesthesia, tiny incisions, quick recovery and very high success rates. Moreover, choosing when to have surgery is individualized and usually based on how much cataracts affect your life. If your vision is still acceptable, there's typically no rush to have surgery. You can choose to have surgery at whatever point you feel improvements in quality of life — such as your ability to read or drive — are worth the effort and very slight risk of a less than ideal outcome.

Scattered light

The eye's lens is located just behind the iris, which gives your eye its color. Light that enters the eye passes through the lens, which helps focus the light and produces the images that you perceive as sight on the retina at the back of your eyeball.

The lens is where a cataract develops. A normal lens is crystal clear. As a cataract develops, precisely arranged protein fibers in your lens begin to break down, clump together and lose their transparency. A cataract scatters light and prevents a sharp, focused image from reaching your retina.