Cataracts form gradually, and therefore early detection and treatment of them can help you save your sight.
Left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. However, the good news is that detected early, you and your doctor should have plenty of time to determine when is the best time to have corrective surgery. You should also know that cataract surgery is very common (more than 7 million cataract procedures are performed each year) and highly effective (over 97% success). It’s typically performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you won’t have to stay in a hospital after the surgery.
During cataract surgery, the surgeon will administer a local anesthetic, make a very small incision to remove the clouded lens from your eye, and replace it with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens, or IOL. The artificial lens focuses light that has passed through the cornea and directs the light to the retina at the back of the eye. Following cataract surgery, most people are pleased with the return to good vision and some even believe that their vision is better than before their cataract developed. It is likely that you will need glasses for some activities, including reading. Cataract surgery is generally very safe, but like all procedures, there can be some risk of infection and complications.
There are many types of IOLs that can be used during cataract surgery. There are even some that can correct astigmatism and some that can adjust for presbyopia. Your doctor will determine which type of IOL is best for you following a thorough exam.