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Know the symptoms of cataracts and how to get treatment

Know the symptoms of cataracts and how to get treatment

Do you think you may have a cataract? Learn the symptoms and what to do. Any unusual eye symptom can be a problem, so it is important to see an eye doctor - your eyes are one of your most precious senses.


Do be on the alert for any symptoms of eye problems

Your eyes are one of your most, if not the most, important of your senses. If there is something not right about your vision, if your eye or eyes look or feel different, see a licensed eye care professional. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who also received specialized education after graduating from medical school and continues to update his or her knowledge. They are specialists in eye conditions, diseases and treatments including surgery.

Do know the specific symptoms of cataracts

The most common symptoms of age-related cataracts are blurry, fuzzy or film vision. This vision will get worse over time. Other symptoms of a cataract, though not specific to and not limited to cataracts include having difficulty driving at night, glare issues, double vision, colors not looking the way they should, more nearsightedness and corrective lens prescription changes.

Do learn about the type of surgery you will need

An educated patient is always the best kind of patient. Most patients will find success with phacoemulsification, the most common type of surgery. In this surgery the old lens is broken into small pieces with sound waves, and a new lens is inserted through small incisions. Another type of surgery is standard extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCG) in which an opening is made and the entire lens is removed in one piece. This is sometimes needed for severe cataracts or under other conditions. Also, in development now is laser-assisted surgery wherein a laser makes the incision, corrects astigmatism and opens the lens capsule. Then the cataract removal is completed with the same phacoemulsification techniques.

Do have your eyes operated on by a highly skilled, board-certified ophthalmologist

A board-certified ophthalmologist who has performed many cataract surgeries is best suited to remove yours. It is okay to ask a doctor how many surgeries they have performed and to ask about the equipment that will be used. Also, many people do not understand the differences between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. An optometrist does not perform surgery.

Do follow instructions before and after surgery

As with all surgeries and procedures, there are certain things you may be required to do before or after surgery. Be careful to follow all procedures before, and take extra care to do what the doctor tells you while your are recuperating. Especially post-surgery, I always tell my patients to call me or come in if they have any concerns while they are recuperating.


Do not think that you are too young to get cataracts

Most people get age-related cataracts. However, cataracts can be congenital and appear in babies and children. Secondary cataracts can occur due to certain medical conditions and diseases, drugs and environmental factors. People can also develop cataracts as a result of trauma.

Do not push off the surgery too far

I tell my patients, that if you do decide to wait, when your blurry, cloudy vision starts to interfere with your lifestyle, it is time to have them removed.

Do not get both eyes done at the same time if you need both done

You may be tempted to think that this will lessen surgery time and give you better vision with both eyes in a shorter time frame, but your eye will be patched after the surgery and it will take some time to heal. During that part of your life you will need a good eye so that you can continue with your life as normally as possible.

Do not drive yourself to this or any other eye surgery

I hope this is self-explanatory. It is very important that you have someone else do the driving if your eyes are impaired in any way.

Do not wait until you have an eye problem before you see a doctor

Most adults and children, unless they have certain risk factors or already are diagnosed with a disease or condition which affects the eye, should have a yearly eye exam. Keep in mind that many eye diseases have no symptoms; it takes a trained eye to see and diagnose what is really going on in your eyes.

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Cataracts develop over time. Be on the lookout for any unusual symptoms and see an ophthalmologist. Cataract surgery has come a long way in the past few decades. Performed by a trained surgeon, you will have better vision in a very reasonable amount of time with minimal discomfort.

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Niki SilversteinMD, Board-Certified Ophthalmologist

Niki A. Silverstein, MD is a board-certified ophthalmologist renowned for her extensive experience in cataract and laser technology. She has consistently been recognized as a Top Ophthalmologist by the Consumer’s Research Council of America. She...

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