Do You Have to Get Cataract Surgery?

Do You Have to Get Cataract Surgery?

September 8th, 2021
Older woman sitting on bed

Taking care of your vision is a lifelong responsibility. If you do an excellent job at it, you may be able to enjoy eyesight that is healthy and strong well into old age.

Unfortunately, not all problems that your eyesight faces are avoidable. Cataracts are a prime example, as they are a natural part of getting older. 

It is possible to delay the development of cataracts, so you don’t have to deal with them until later in life. But eventually, the lenses in your eyes will likely begin to cloud over.

There is no medicinal or therapeutic way to reverse this process once it has begun. Eventually, cataracts could cause your lenses to become opaque and block your vision entirely.

But if this happens to you, there is no need to accept poor vision for the rest of your life. Cataract surgery removes your opaque lenses and replaces them with lenses that give your eyesight back!

Keep reading to learn more about cataract surgery and when you should get it.

What is Cataract Surgery

The term cataract surgery is a little bit misleading. It may cause you to think that the surgery aims to remove the cataract from your eye.

But this is impossible since cataracts grow inside your natural lens. Instead, cataract surgery restores your vision by replacing the cataract-afflicted lens.

Your natural lens gets replaced by an intraocular lens or IOL. Before your procedure, you and your surgeon will select the IOL that best fits your needs.

The most basic IOL option is a monofocal IOL, which allows you to see after the procedure, but only at one range. You will need glasses to see at other distances that the monofocal doesn’t correct.

Premium IOLs, on the other hand, can correct vision at two or more refractive distances. Certain premium IOLs can give you clear sight at all distances without glasses or contacts.

But you may have to pay out of pocket for a premium IOL. Insurance and Medicare cover the cost of cataract surgery with a monofocal IOL, but not premium IOLs.

What Happens During Cataract Surgery?

To implant your IOL, your surgeon has to remove your natural lens first. To do this, they first numb your eyes with anesthetic eye drops to prevent pain.

Once the eyedrops take effect, they make an incision in your cornea to access the lens behind it. Your lens won’t fit through this incision, so they have to break it into smaller pieces first.

Once your lens is in smaller pieces, they remove it using gentle suction. Then your preselected IOL gets inserted and positioned in your eye.

After the IOL is in position, your surgeon closes your cornea. It heals and attaches itself without stitches.

Full recovery can take several months, but it is not intense. You will be able to return to much of your everyday life quickly. 

When To Get Cataract Surgery

Your eye doctor can identify cataracts in your eyes before they create any visual symptoms. Many people live with cataracts for years, tolerating the gradual decrease in vision.

You can use glasses and brighter lighting to get by as your cataracts slowly develop. But, there will come a time when your vision will decrease enough to impact the quality of your life.

At this point, you and your eye doctor will decide when the best time is for your surgery. If cataracts are affecting your life, schedule a cataract screening at Laser Eye Center in Decatur, AL. It may be time for you to get your eyesight back!