The development of laser cataract surgery has opened new options for patients. Here are 10 facts about cataract surgery you need to know.
A cataract is clouding in the lens of the eye. It results first in cloudy vision, and, if left untreated, can cause you to lose sight entirely in your eye.
Luckily, advancements in science have made it possible for cataracts to be fixed through surgery. Even more recent advancements have turned surgery into a simple, non-invasive, outpatient procedure.
But while millions of people around the world suffer from cataracts, few people know what they are and how they are treated.
If you have a cataract and are wondering what your options are, keep reading. We’re breaking down 10 need-to-know facts about laser cataract surgery so that you can make an informed decision about your health and vision.
1. It’s More Common Than You Think
Unlike major procedures like heart or brain surgery, laser cataract surgery doesn’t get talked about all that often.
Because of this, many people believe that cataracts are fairly uncommon, and in turn, the surgeries to correct them seem even less common.
But in reality, cataract surgery is very common.
By the time they reach 80 years of age, over half of all Americans suffer from cataracts.
As science and medicine continue to improve and more and more Americans make it to 80 years of age, the number of people suffering from cataracts increases. In turn, so do the number of surgeries being performed.
Each year, more than 3.5 million cataract surgeries are performed in the U.S.
2. The Average Age of Cataract Surgery Patients is Dropping
Your risk of developing a cataracts increases as you age. But despite this, the average age of cataract surgery patients has been dropping for over a decade.
In a study conducted on cataract surgery performed from 2005 to 2011, the number of patients under the age of 65 increased by 20 percent.
Exactly why this drop in age has occurred is unclear. It may be in part because cataract surgery is becoming more routine, making it safer and simpler than ever.
3. Knowledge of Cataracts Has Advanced A Lot in Recent Years
With the number of cataract surgeries increasing every year, more research is being committed to the science of cataracts. This has led to a lot of advancements in recent years.
One recent advancement that has revolutionized the industry is laser cataract surgery.
When cataract surgery was performed for the first time in the 1970s, it involved a long hospital stay, a painful recovery, and the need to wear glasses in order for the patient to see.
Now, laser cataract surgery is non-invasive, with a quick recovery time, and no need for glasses afterward, as long as the patient had good vision prior to the surgery.
4. The Cost is Dropping
As cataract surgery becomes more common and routine, the price of the procedure continues to drop.
While traditional, invasive surgeries are less expensive than laser surgery, when you compare the recovery and the risks, laser cataract surgery wins.
You’ll be back to normal, only with clearer sight, and pain-free faster after laser surgery, allowing you to get back to doing what you love.
5. Cataract Surgery Does More than Just Improve Vision
The obvious benefit of laser cataract surgery is improved, cloud-free vision. But there are other benefits as well.
With the ability to see clearly, you’ll enjoy an improved quality of life. You can get back to enjoying your favorite things, like visiting new places or watching films.
6. Lasers Reduce Traditional Risks
As with any type of surgery, cataract surgery comes with any inherent risks.
Cutting open your eye to replace the lens can lead to bleeding, infections, or other problems. Doctors are human and make mistakes, which can cause problems far worse than a cataract.
Laser cataract surgery reduces many of these risks. It’s non-invasive, which decreases the risk of mistakes, infections, and more.
7. Just Because You Have Cataracts Doesn’t Mean You’re Eligible for Surgery
Cataracts can become serious medical conditions if left untreated. You’ll begin to experience decreased vision, and eventually lose your vision in the affected eye. If you have a cataract in each eye, you could lose your vision entirely.
But cataracts are often slow to develop. Just because an eye doctor has told you that you have a cataract doesn’t mean that it needs to be treated right away.
Usually, eye doctors will recommend waiting until the cataract has advanced before suggesting surgery. However, with the increased safety of laser cataract surgery, it’s becoming increasingly common for the procedure to be suggested when the cataract is less developed.
Talk to your doctor about whether he or she thinks that you need surgery now or in the future.
8. The Procedure Has Become Routine
Cataract surgery has become a routine procedure that is now often performed at an outpatient facility.
The procedure takes a minimal amount of time, and patients go home the same day. Within days, patients regain vision.
9. There are Some Risks
Laser cataract surgery is still surgery, which means that there are still risks.
Complications like inflammation can occur, though they are very rare. If they do occur, they are often far less severe than the complications of traditional surgery and can be treated with medication.
10. Not Getting Surgery Can Have Major Consequences
Despite a few risks, choosing not to get cataract surgery can actually be more dangerous.
For older cataract patients, improved vision means a decreased risk of slips and falls, which can be painful and require expensive surgeries and treatments.
For patients with poor health, one bad slip or fall could prove deadly, or put them in a hospital bed for the rest of their lives.
Some studies have even suggested that cataract surgery can reduce a patient’s risk of death by as much as 40 percent.
Find Out if You’re a Candidate for Laser Cataract Surgery Today
If you’re suffering from a cataract, it’s time to talk to your doctor today about whether you’re a candidate for laser surgery.
If you find out that you are, contact us right away to see how our advanced procedures can get you back to seeing clearly again in no time!