If you have been diagnosed with cataracts, you are going to be faced with an important decision: should you get cataract surgery? Here at Minnesota Eye, the answer is always “yes.” It is just a matter of when. Many people avoid cataract removal out of fear of the surgery or cost, accepting the fact that their vision is declining. But now we know that cataracts can affect more than just our vision – they can affect your lifespan.
What Is a Cataract?
Cataracts occur when the natural lens inside of the eye becomes cloudy. This lens needs to be completely clear to let light into the eye. As cataracts form, less light is able to get into the eye and vision loss occurs. Vision loss from cataracts typically occurs slowly, over a period of years. And because cataracts are not painful, many people don’t realize anything is wrong until they are diagnosed with cataracts during an eye examination.
As frightening as it can be to hear a cataract diagnosis, you aren’t alone. Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness in the world, and it is assumed everyone will develop cataracts at some point in their lives.
During a recent 20-year study, researchers found something remarkable. The study was conducted among 74,044 women aged 65 and older, all of whom had cataracts. 41,735 of those women underwent cataract surgery. Of the women who had their cataracts removed, researchers found that their risk of death was reduced by 60 percent.
How Cataract Surgery Prolongs Life
When they looked into the numbers, researchers found that those who had cataract surgery experienced reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and infectious disease, as well as cancer and accidents. Those who had cataract surgery also experienced less risk of depression, a condition associated with cataracts.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
During cataract surgery, your surgeon will remove the affected lens and replace it with an artificial lens, called an IOL. There are many different types of IOLs available, some of which have refractive powers to correct myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia. This means less dependence on glasses!
Cataract surgery is a routine outpatient procedure with a very low complication rate. Many people stray away from the surgery thinking it entails a long surgery and recovery process. This is no longer the case! Modern cataract surgery allows you to get back to your life quickly.
Have you been diagnosed with cataracts? Contact Minnesota Eye Consultants to schedule your cataract surgery consultation!