New technology is dramatically changing how doctors treat cataracts. Lasers used in the procedure not only take away the cataracts, but many people do not need to wear glasses any more after it’s over.
Cataracts develop slowly and do not trouble a person’s eyesight early on. As a cataract grows, it can make a person’s vision cloudy. The Mayo Clinic says it is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts include:
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Seeing "halos" around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Double vision in a single eye
If you or a loved one starts to experience these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with an eye specialist. Doctors usually decide to delay surgery until the cataracts begin to substantially impair a person’s vision.
Doctors then use a laser to make minuscule cuts in the cornea of the eye. This gives them access to the area with the cataract. The laser softens up the cataract and makes it so suction can remove it. During the same surgery, the laser can help reshape the eyeball and correct astigmatism. The lasers mean there are no sutures, nor surgical pain, and a short recovery time.
Because the laser also corrects a person’s sight problems while removing the cataract, doctors tell cataract patients they no longer need glasses following the procedure. This means people who’ve worn glasses for decades often will no longer need them. Basically, it provides the cosmetic benefits of an eye procedure along with the necessary removal of cataracts.
Until you have surgery, you can cope with the symptoms of cataracts by:
- Making sure your eyeglasses or contact lenses are the most accurate prescription possible
- Using a magnifying glass to read
- Improving the lighting in your home with more or brighter lamps
- When going outside during the day, wear sunglasses or a broad-brimmed hat to reduce glare
- Limiting night driving