Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss for people older than 55, but they don’t have to be. Unlike many eye diseases, vision loss due to cataracts can be restored. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States with a 95 percent success rate.
If you have just been diagnosed with cataracts, you may be thinking that surgery is the only option. However, surgery may not be needed immediately, so it is important to understand your options before proceeding. A second opinion can help determine if and when surgery is right for you.
Commonly associated with aging, cataracts progress slowly over time and result in cloudy or blurred vision, sensitivity to light and glare, difficulty distinguishing certain colors and reduced vision at night. In the early stages of cataracts, patients often find that their vision is not affected significantly, and any minor variations can be managed with eyeglasses or other lifestyle changes such as utilizing brighter lighting, magnifying lenses and anti-glare sunglasses.
A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. If your vision is no longer helped by eyeglasses, it may be time to consider surgery. You and your eye care professional can make this decision together once you understand the benefits and risks of surgery.
One in six Americans older than age 40 will develop cataracts. By the time we turn 70, over one-half of Americans will have them.
It can be difficult to determine if cataract surgery is truly necessary, so don’t hesitate to get a second opinion before moving forward. A second opinion from an independent party can help you make a well-informed decision about your eye care and may prevent unnecessary surgery. When getting a second opinion, inform the doctor of your medical history and what tests have already been completed, the surgery methods you are considering, and what questions you have.
The final decision to proceed with cataract surgery belongs to the patient, so don’t feel pressured or rushed to make a decision you’re not comfortable with. Unless cataracts are affecting another area of your health that warrants a timely procedure, there is time to consider your options.
If you choose to move forward with cataract surgery, ensure the procedure is performed by an experienced, successful surgeon. Schedule an appointment to meet your surgeon, ask questions and confirm you are comfortable with them performing your surgery. Important inquiries for a potential surgeon include how many procedures have been completed, the number of successful outcomes, complication rates and what to expect for postoperative care and recovery.
Choosing the eye care team that you will trust with the health of your eyes is an important decision. It is essential to feel confident with the team of medical professionals that will be caring for you, as well as the services, capabilities and technologies that are available to ensure that you are getting the care and treatment that is right for you. If you are unsure about any of these aspects, seek other options. Ask for a referral from your friends, relatives, or your regular eye doctor. Online registries from medical associations like American Academy of Ophthalmology are also helpful resources for determining potential surgeons.
All surgeries have associated risks, and at Elmquist Eye Group, we believe that any medical procedure should be approached conservatively. A thorough examination will help determine if surgery is truly needed at this time, or if there are other treatment options that can delay the need for surgery. Rest assured knowing that the health of your eyes is of the utmost importance to our team. Honest, trustworthy medical professionals are at your disposal to determine what treatment options are best for your overall health and lifestyle, helping weigh all potential outcomes so that you can proceed with confidence.
If you have concerns about your vision, it is important to speak to a doctor to discuss treatment options. With more than 25 years of service to the Southwest Florida community, Elmquist Eye Group offers experienced doctors who are dedicated to patient care. Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist, Dr. Kate Wagner, Dr. Sarah Eccles-Brown and Dr. Nina Burt of Elmquist Eye Group are available to answer your questions. With three U.S. military veterans leading the practice, rest assured knowing that Elmquist Eye Group’s team stands ready to serve you with knowledge and experience right here in Southwest Florida. For more information, visit www.Elmquist.com, call 239-936-2020 or stop by an Optical Boutique location in Fort Myers or Cape Coral.
7970 Summerlin Lakes Dr.
2336 Surfside Blvd., Suite 121