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When Do You Know It’s Time to Have Cataract Surgery

When Do You Know It’s Time to Have Cataract Surgery 640×350Cataract surgery, which replaces the cataract-affected lens of the eye with a new, clear artificial lens, is the most common surgical procedure in the world. While the procedure is considered  safe and effective, patients want to know the optimal time to have the surgery.

Early Signs of Cataracts

During the earlier stages, individuals with cataracts experience cloudy vision and sensitivity to glare and light. Halos may appear around lit objects at night, and night vision may be impaired. Colors may appear washed out, such as bright red hues looking more like dark pink.

Signs You Need Cataract Surgery

Many people live with cataracts for several years before considering surgery. The following are signs it is time to have your cataracts removed:

  • You find it difficult to see well enough to perform tasks at work
  • It is difficult to do activities around the house, such as cooking and cleaning
  • You do not see the television screen or printed material clearly
  • Driving, especially at night, is no longer safe
  • Glare and brightness impact your daily life
  • Blurry vision or poor color detection impair your quality of life

If you experience any of the above, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss cataract surgery.

The Presence of Other Eye Problems

Your eye doctor may encourage you to have cataract surgery if cataracts make it difficult to examine the back of your eye to treat a range of serious eye conditions, including glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinopathy. This may require the urgent removal of the cataract so the optometrist can accurately diagnose and manage these other serious eye problems.

What Happens If You Delay Surgery?

There are advantages to having cataract surgery earlier rather than later. Cataracts can severely interfere with daily life and can make night driving difficult, even hazardous. If left untreated, cataracts result in vision loss and eventually blindness. Additionally, over time cataracts become thicker, darker and denser, which can add unnecessary complications to the surgery and lengthen the post-surgery recovery period.

However, in some cases patients can wait to have cataract surgery, and in the meantime their  eye doctor can recommend stronger prescription lenses or using brighter lights to support vision.

Whether you decide to have cataract surgery early on or to wait, you can do so under the guidance of Dr. Marcy Rose and Dr. Nathan Davis at North Park Vision Center, which serves patients from Westminster, Broomfield, Thornton, and the Front Range, Colorado and surrounding communities. Schedule an appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Marcy Rose

Q: What Are the Benefits of Cataract Surgery?

A: Having cataract surgery:

  • - Restores clear vision
  • - Enhances enjoyment of reading and watching TV
  • - Improves quality of life by allowing you to do everyday activities and hobbies
  • - Lowers the risk of developing other eye problems, such as eye inflammation and glaucoma
  • - Makes it safer to drive and do other nighttime activities

Q: How Do I Lower My Risk of Cataracts?

A: These tips may help reduce the likelihood of developing cataracts:

  • - Have regular eye exams to catch any problems early
  • - Wear sunglasses to block UV rays – 10% of cataract cases are related to the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • - Maintain proper blood sugar levels, particularly if you have diabetes
  • - Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamins C and E
  • - Quit smoking and drink only moderate amounts of alcohol
  • - Be aware that steroidal eye drops and corticosteroids may increase the risk of cataracts


Video Script

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the world. The surgery involves replacing the cataract-affected corneal lens with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is successful in the majority of cases and is safe, but patients may want to know the optimal time to have surgery. The fact is the only way to treat cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye, is through surgery. If left untreated, cataracts can cause vision loss and eventually blindness.

It is usually best to have cataract surgery earlier rather than later, before the condition progresses and the cataracts become thicker and darker. Here are some signs that it is time to have cataract surgery:

  • You find vision interference makes it difficult to perform tasks at work or at home
  • Driving, especially at night, is no longer safe
  • You struggle to see printed material or objects on the screen clearly

Talk to your eye doctor about cataract surgery to relieve your symptoms and preserve your vision.

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