Four Things You May Not Know About Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is one of the more common surgeries performed in the United States. Without treatment, cataracts can lead to blindness, so if you start to notice a glare and have trouble reading and blurred vision, it's important to get your eyes tested to see if the trouble is just that you need a new prescription for your glasses or you're developing cataracts. Cataracts tend to develop gradually, and surgery isn't usually covered by insurance or Medicare until vision has deteriorated to a certain point. There are a few things not everyone knows about cataract surgery that may help you make a more informed decision.

Improves Quality of Life and Life Expectancy

Because this type of surgery improves vision, it limits the risk of injuries and accidents, leading to a 40 percent lower mortality risk. Having cataract surgery on one eye causes an approximately 21 percent increase in the patient's quality of life, while having this surgery in both eyes may improve quality of life by as much as 36 percent.

Doesn't Totally Correct Vision

With cataract surgery, the original lens of the eye is removed (as this is the part of the eye damaged by cataracts) and replaced by what's called an intraocular lens implant. This type of implant most often only corrects for either near or far vision. So people need to choose whether they want to correct for far vision and use reading glasses for close-up work, or whether they want to correct for near vision and maybe need glasses to see longer distances. Those who are willing to pay extra may opt for multifocal or accommodative lenses that can sometimes help with both types of vision, but the end result may still not be enough to remove the need for glasses altogether.

LASIK May Speed Up Need for Cataract Surgery

A 2015 study conducted in Japan showed that those who have had LASIK surgery to correct their vision may find themselves needing cataract surgery earlier than those who haven't had this type of surgery. Also, LASIK surgery may make it harder to determine the correct level of correction for the intraocular lens implant.

May Increase Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk

People who have cataract surgery should be aware that this type of surgery may make it so that age-related macular degeneration progresses more quickly. This is one of the more common eye problems that affects vision as people age.

For more information, contact Thomas L. Lawrence, M.D., P.A. or a similar medical professional.