If the eyes truly are the “window to the soul,” what does it mean if those eyes look out upon a fuzzy, clouded world? Metaphysical answers aside, for people whose vision is blurred due to cataracts it can mean interference with daily activities, inability to drive at night, increased risk of accidents and more.
The very idea of surgery on the eyes makes many people uncomfortable, but most people who have had cataract surgery would tell you how grateful they are that they did it.
Here are just a few reasons people who have had cataract surgery are thankful they did:
- Cataract Surgery is faster and easier than imagined
Cataract surgery typically lasts less than 20 minutes and most people can resume normal activities fairly quickly. Patients are given local anesthetics to numb the area and possibly a sedative to help relax. The procedure, performed by an eye surgeon, is usually done on an outpatient basis, meaning there isn’t even a hospital stay. And that is something to be thankful for.
- Re-discovering the joy in everyday activities
Although cataracts may not cause issues in the beginning stage, when they become advanced, they can interfere with daily activities. This is typically when doctors recommend having them removed. After cataract surgery, patients usually report increased levels of satisfaction from being able to participate in their favorite activities again. Things like knitting and sewing, playing golf, doing crossword puzzles and playing with grandkids become a part of daily life again, and happily so.
- Reduced dependence on glasses and contact lenses
Sometimes, depending on which intraocular lens (IOL) a patient chooses to replace their cloudy lens, dependence on glasses and contact lenses can be reduced. Some IOLs are for distance, some for near vision and there are some premium lenses that can correct vision at multiple distances. There are even IOLs that correct for astigmatism. It is not uncommon for patients to report that their vision is better after cataract surgery than it was before they developed a cataract.
- Ability to drive after dark
One of the frustrations people have with cataracts is that at a certain point, they make it difficult to drive after dark. It can become more difficult to see at night because cataracts cause glare and halos to appear around headlights. For people with cataracts, it can be both difficult and unsafe to drive at night. But after cataract surgery, these symptoms disappear for most people, giving them the freedom to drive after dark.
- Ability to read all kinds of text
One of the surprising symptoms of cataracts is the diminished ability to read text on colored backgrounds. Reading things like brochures, magazine articles and even websites can become troublesome, especially when there are colorful backgrounds in shades of green, blue or purple. But once the clouded cataract lens has been replaced with a clear artificial lens (IOL), difficulties distinguishing colors usually disappears.
Cataract surgery restores vision for the majority of people who have the procedure, and with restored vision comes an improvement in quality of life. Now that is something to be thankful for.
Don’t ignore cataract symptoms. Schedule an eye examination with a qualified doctor. Chances are you’ll be glad you did.
References for more information about cataract surgery: