Cataract Surgery - Describe Your Experience

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What is a cataract?

A cataract is an eye disease in which the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, causing a decrease in vision. The lens focuses light onto the back of the eye (the retina) so images appear clear and without distortion. The clouding of this lens during cataract formation distorts vision. Cataracts are usually a very gradual process of normal aging but can occasionally develop rapidly. They commonly affect both eyes, but it is not uncommon for a cataract in one eye to advance more rapidly. Cataracts are very common, especially among the elderly.

Precisely why cataracts occur is unknown. However, most cataracts appear to be caused by changes in the protein structures within the lens that occur over many years and cause the lens to become cloudy. Rarely, cataracts can present at birth or in early childhood as a result of hereditary enzyme defects, other genetic disease, or systemic congenital infections. Severe trauma to the eye, eye surgery, or intraocular inflammation can also cause cataracts to develop more rapidly. Other factors that may lead to development of cataracts at an earlier age include excessive ultraviolet light exposure, exposure to ionizing radiation, diabetes, smoking, or the use of certain medications, such as oral, topical, or inhaled steroids. Other medications that may be associated with cataracts include the long-term use of statins and phenothiazines.

The total number of people who have cataracts is estimated to increase to 30.1 million by 2020. When people develop cataracts, they begin to have difficulty doing activities they enjoy. Some of the most common complaints include difficulty driving at night, reading, or traveling. These are all activities for which clear vision is essential.

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Comment from: TNcarrob, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 27

I had terrible results from cataract surgery. I received a multi-focal lens in right eye in 2012 for which I paid nearly $3000.00. Ever since, I have had a terrible halo which is very debilitating. I cannot look at any bright lights or bright contrasts. No more looking at Christmas lights, for example. I can no longer drive at night as street lights and car lights blind me.

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Comment from: anneman, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I have had glasses since the age of 4. I am severely nearsighted, probably about a -12 or so. During my 20s, I needed to have retinal surgery on both eyes within a month, due to retinal tears (they say this is because I am so nearsighted, the retina was stretched and tore). That surgery was successful. Meanwhile, in my late 30s, early 40s I was told I had slow growing cataracts. It finally got so bad that I couldn"t see at night. I went to have the surgery in the beginning of January for my right eye first. I think I was seeing 20/50 afterwards! Unfortunately, my other eye was still terrible. I couldn"t wear glasses and could not function. At my 4 day post operation visit, I begged the doctor to do my other eye as soon as possible. Usually you need to wait 4 to 6 weeks, he agreed to do it in 2 weeks. Now I have a light prescription for glasses, but can"t see up close when wearing them! I am now farsighted. It has been three months and still a little difficult to get used to. I can see without glasses, but not to drive or anything like that. I had a great doctor and a great experience. I guess I just need to wait the full three months until my prescription is final and go back and maybe get a pair of contacts with reading glasses and another pair of regular glasses. I was so frightened to have the first eye done, but really, it is about a 20 minute procedure and if you have the right doctor and hospital, it is a great experience. If you need to have this done, don"t hesitate to get a second, third or 4th opinion. If you find the right doctor, it will all be worth it.

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