By age 80, around 50% of people have experienced cataracts. Living with this common condition is like driving with a dirty windshield: it’s painless but frustrating and disorienting.
Most people know a cataract when they see one; an eye that appears milky or cloudy. That’s essentially what a cataract is.
The lens of the eye is made chiefly of protein and water. The protein is spaced out in such a way that we can see through them, getting a clear image of whatever’s in front of us. However over time, sometimes the protein starts to collect into larger groups or clumps. This limits the amount of light that can reach the retina, causing dimmer, duller, blurrier vision.
For the most part, a cataract takes time to build up and solidify, so patients experiencing cataracts are largely seniors. However there are a small number of children born with cataracts (called congenital cataracts). This condition is genetic, and doctors usually notice them right away.
Most cataract patients report a darkening and blurring of their vision. Often people notice colours around them seem to be growing duller. You may also experience double vision, and significant glare and halo effects from lights; especially at night time.
In ideal candidates, the recovery time for this procedure is approximately 1 month. Having said that, this can vary greatly based on the age and overall health of the patient.
You’ll need to visit your optometrist four to six weeks after surgery to have your eyes checked and your prescription confirmed, as cataract surgery frequently lessens your eyes’ dependence on glasses. Do not drive or operate any machinery until your optometrist has told you it’s safe to do so.
For the first week after surgery, it’s important you avoid lifting anything over 25 pounds, strenuous activity, any situations that could involve getting water in your eye (close your eye when you shower), or any situations that could leave your eyes vulnerable to dust, grit, or anything else that might damage your eyes.
The most effective treatment for cataracts is just surgically removing them. Though some patients hear the word surgery and imagine something quite traumatic, the procedure is really quite simple and safe. The whole operation is an outpatient procedure which only takes about 15 minutes.
Using a high-frequency ultrasonic device, an ophthalmologist will break up the natural, cloudy lens of your eye. They will then use gentle suction to remove the pieces.
Once your old lens has been completely cleared away, the ophthalmologist will insert an intraocular lens (IOL) behind your iris. The doctor will then close the incision in your eye, most often without sutures, completing the procedure. You will be given a protective shield to wear over your eye, keeping it safe during the initial recovery period.
Come see us for yourself. We’re located Kelowna’s Pandosy Village District, across from Raymer Elementary School.