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Ask the Vision Experts: Healthy Aging Month

Dr. David Tremblay

How will I know when it is time to have cataract surgery?

One certainty in life is that everyone will eventually develop cataracts. In fact, cataract formation can start earlier than you might think, typically by the time we are in our 40s. Most cataracts, however, do not become significant enough to notice until we are in our 50s or 60s and beyond, which is when most folks elect to have surgery. But how do we know when it’s time for surgery?

First things first, what is a cataract? A cataract is clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is located inside the eye behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. The lens’ job is to focus light, changing shape to allow for both near, intermediate and distance vision. As the lens ages, it becomes rigid and cloudy, which affects this ability to focus. The cloudiness also causes glare, halos around lights, and starbursts which can affect the quality of vision, especially at night. Finally, worsening cataracts change the prescription of the eye, making glasses seem obsolete.

So, if you are older than 50, having difficulty with glare from headlights, or needing more frequent glasses updates, you may have significant cataracts and benefit from surgery. I like to tell my patients that when cataracts begin affecting their quality of life, it’s time to have them removed. The only way to know for sure is to schedule a comprehensive exam with your eye doctor. Luckily, modern cataract surgery is simple, enjoys an impressive success rate and may even allow for options to eliminate dependency on glasses!

The experienced eye care providers at Mann Eye Institute can guide you in the process of restoring and even improving your sight. See us today to See Life Better.

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