Cataracts affect a whopping 20.5 million Americans starting at age 40. While that number may be big, it’s important to know that you shouldn’t be afraid of getting cataracts.

Cataracts happen to be one of the most treatable conditions that result in loss of vision.

Let’s go over 7 truths about cataract surgery that you need to know. Whether it’s for a loved one or for yourself, it is always important to be informed.

What Are Cataracts?

The eyes are mostly made up of water and proteins. These proteins and liquid are dispersed with the purpose of providing clear vision. As we age, these proteins begin drifting towards the center of the lens.

As they drift closer together, the proteins eventually begin clumping together. This clump of proteins blocking the passage of light to the retina is a cataract.

Do Cataracts Hurt?

No. A cataract doesn’t cause any pain as it develops. The development of a cataract can often take years or decades. At this point, vision becomes severely affected.

Will I Have Vision Problems Right Away?

Not at all. Most patients do not even know a cataract is developing during the early stages. Cataracts start out too small to affect vision in any way, and some will never grow larger.

What Happens If My Cataract Gets Bigger?

As the cataract grows larger and larger, it will begin to affect the patient’s vision. Prescription eyeglasses can help mitigate symptoms as an in-between step.

Surgery will only be recommended when the cataract blocks or affects most vision. At this point, surgery is the only treatment.

Do I Need To Have Cataract Surgery?

There are no treatments available for cataracts except for cataract surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing the lens where the cataract is blocking vision.

When the lens has been fully removed, it’s replaced with an IOL, or intraocular lens. If cataracts aren’t treated, they result in total loss of vision.

Is The Recovery Period After Cataract Surgery Long?

Not at all. In fact, many patients are able to return to work after only a few days! Be sure to check in with your cataract surgeon first to make sure they’ve determined it’s safe for you to drive.

It may take a few days after cataract surgery for your vision to seem normal. This isn’t an issue and should go away quickly. If you have cataracts in both eyes, your cataract surgeon will want to do one eye at a time.

After the first cataract removal, the second one can get removed. This gives the first eye enough time to heal sufficiently before removing the second one.

Will I Need Glasses After Surgery?

This depends on which IOL you choose. Many patients who rely on Medicaid opt for single vision IOLs. Single vision IOLs or monofocal IOLs are the only IOL that Medicaid covers.

This IOL only corrects for distance vision. That means you’ll need glasses to see up close for activities like knitting or reading.

Have more questions about cataract surgery and what to expect? Schedule a cataract screening at Riverside Eye Center in Auburn or Norway today!