Signs You May Need a Cataract Surgery


The lens of your eye functions much like the lens of a camera, controlling the light rays that enter your eye so that you can see clearly. If you develop a cataract, though, your lens can no longer function correctly, and your vision will become blurry. While you might not realize it, cataracts are very common. The risk of cataracts increases with each decade beginning at age 40; data from the National Eye Institute indicates that about 24.4 million Americans suffer from cataracts, and that number is expected to rise to 50 million by 2050. Fortunately, while this condition cannot be cured, cataract surgery is safe and effective. In fact, eye doctors perform more than 2 million cataract surgeries each year, so it’s also one of the most common procedures performed on the eyes. Do you need cataract surgery? Let’s look at some of the symptoms of cataracts, so that you can determine whether it’s time to make an eye appointment.

  • First, what are cataracts? A cataract occurs because of changes to the eye’s natural structure. The lens of the eye is made of proteins, and these proteins are, ideally, spread thinly across the surface of the eye, so that the lens can be seen through easily. As people get older, those proteins start to get thicker and form clumps that light cannot penetrate, causing cloudy vision. This problem will get worse over time, making it harder for the person to see.
  • What causes cataracts? Cataracts can affect anyone, and can form in one or both eyes. They’re more likely to happen to people who have a family history of cataracts or have an existing medical condition like diabetes or uveitis. People who have had eye surgery or an injury to the eye are more prone to cataracts, and lifestyle plays a large role in their development. Smoking, drinking heavily, and eating a diet full of salt, sugar, and fat can all increase your likelihood of cataracts. In fact, smoking increases your risk by three times! Spending time in the sun without protecting your eyes from UV rays can also lead to cataracts, along with other eye issues, including cancer.
  • How does cataract surgery work? Cataract surgery is the only method we currently have to get rid of cataracts, but it is fairly simple and straightforward. It is performed under local anesthetic and takes about 45 to 60 minutes per eye, though if you need surgeries in both eyes, you will need to schedule them separately. During the procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in the eye, remove the affected lens, and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL is an artificial lens, and there are many varieties of IOL available, so you will need to confer with your doctor to determine which is best for you.
  • What are some cataract symptoms that mean you need surgery? Sometimes, the signs of cataracts are very subtle. In fact, many people don’t even realize they have cataracts until the condition has progressed and made a significant impact on their vision. That’s one reason it is important to see an eye doctor regularly and to maintain awareness of any changes in your vision. Cataracts can cause vision to be clouded, blurred, or dimmed, and for colors to seem to fade. You might notice difficulty with your night vision, sensitivity to light and glare, or a need for brighter light for close-up activities like reading. Cataracts can also cause the appearance of halos around lights or double vision in one eye. If you notice any of these symptoms, or you’re finding that your glasses prescription needs to be changed frequently, talk to your eye doctor about the possibility of cataracts.

If you’re looking for an ophthalmologist or optometrist in Derry, Londonderry, Raymond, or Windham, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Having spent over 35 years providing eye care in New Hampshire, we proudly provide our patients with personalized eye care, using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.