Fact: Cataracts – clouding in the lens of the eye that affects vision – impact more than 22 million Americans aged 40 and older. More than 70% of adults will get cataracts at some point in their lifetime.
But many adults are in the dark when it comes to modern advancements in treating this common eye condition.
Misconceptions about recovery time, results and post-operative care shouldn’t affect your decision to pursue cataract surgery. If you’re one of the 50% of American adults suffering from some degree of cataract, make sure your knowledge is current with these four facts about cataracts.
4 facts you should know about cataracts, surgery, and care
1. The majority of adults will get cataracts in their lifetime
Many people believe that cataracts only affect senior citizens, so you may be surprised to learn that this condition can impact people of all ages.
While cataracts are most common among people over 65, they can also develop among younger people – even babies. Early developments of cataracts typically stem from certain systemic medications such as prednisone, or other health issues such as diabetes.
Because of this possibility of early development, it’s important to have your eyes checked out by an ophthalmologist if you suspect you’re suffering from the condition (regardless of your age). Some experts even recommend checking kids for cataracts by age two.
2. Cataracts may be difficult to recognize
Cataracts produce a haziness in the natural lens of your eye – a part that typically helps to focus light on your retina and form images. When this lens turns cloudy, images become less clear. For this reason, you may experience cloudy or blurry vision, faded colors, or halos with a cataract.
However, because cataracts develop slowly, you may not immediately realize your vision is failing with this condition. Instead of weakened acuity, many people begin to experience high sensitivity to glare or bright lights, or have trouble driving due to poor night vision. If you start to notice either of these symptoms – even if eyesight feels normal – it may be worth visiting a medical professional to act early against cataracts.
3. Advances in technology have expanded cataract care options
“Over the past few years, new developments in technique, such as intraoperative antibiotics have improved safety in surgeries even more,” says Dr. Timothy Denman – an ophthalmologist at Oregon Eye Specialists. “Newer intraocular lenses are now being implanted, which can reduce or eliminate astigmatism, and in selected patients, can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses after surgery.”
Ask your doctor about LessDrops
Traditionally, physicians have been required to prescribe significant eye drop regiments for patients after cataract surgery. These complicated patient-administered regiments are often confusing and can lead to non-compliance and incorrect dosing. Cost also plays a factor – eye drops, even generic eye drops, can be expensive to purchase.
This year, Oregon Eye Specialists became the first ophthalmology group in the region to administer LessDrops treatments.
LessDrops is a combination topical eye drop treatment designed for patients following cataract surgery. Focusing on efficiencies for the patient, a LessDrops regiment requires up to 50% fewer drops and may represent up to 75% post-operative cost savings.
4. Cataract surgery is safe, consistent, and produces immediate results
“Cataract surgery is very safe,” says Dr. Denman. “Although no surgery is without risk, over 98% of cataract surgeries are completed without serious complications, and results are immediate.”
Many people hesitate to pursue treatment due to cataract surgery’s reputation of being painful, inconvenient, and accompanied by long recovery times. However, current-day cataract surgery is often a positive, easy, and fast experience for most patients.
Cataract patients at Oregon Eye Specialists are able to undergo surgery with a light sedative and local anesthetic with no overnight stay at the hospital required. The surgery itself lasts only 30 minutes and patients are discharged just one hour after the procedure is complete. With just a few days of post-operative recovery time, patients are able to see anew.
“It’s incredible to speak with patients after they’ve completed cataract surgery” says Dr. Denman. “Some feel they have ‘HD Vision,’ others share new experiences of being able to see at night and appreciate the vibrancy of colors around them. No matter what age, the improvement in sight is dramatic. Being able to deliver this type of impact is why I love my job.”
Take steps to receive the care you need
Research is important for any person looking to improve their eye health. But if you’re concerned about your vision or the possibility of needing cataract treatment – the first step is finding a provider to help you make an informed decision.
The team at Oregon Eye Specialists are ready to help. To find out more about cataracts and your care options, schedule an appointment with one of our trusted providers today.
Ready to move forward in receiving cataract treatment? Call 503-953-5580, or find out which of our 10 locations is most convenient for you.