In years past, the idea of cataract surgery was one that only seemed appropriate during the later stages in life. Everyone will end up developing cataracts, and since they get worse and obstruct your vision as you age, it makes sense that patients would typically undergo surgery after the age of 70 or so.
However, recent studies have shown that more and more individuals are having cataract surgery earlier in life. Medical and personal reasons are contributing to this change, and yet it brings up a larger question for nearly all adults – should I undergo cataract surgery at any age? The answer just might surprise you.
What Exactly Is A Cataract?
One of the most important parts of the eye is called the clear lens, and it is made of water and proteins. The lens adjusts to help us see clearly, yet as we age our lens becomes more rigid. Proteins also start to stick together, resulting in an opaque area of the lens that can limit your visual acuity. Exposure to sunlight can also speed up the natural process of cataract development.
While most people do not notice their cataracts affecting their vision until well into adulthood, some children are born with them. It’s important for younger individuals with healthy eyes to wear sunglasses and protect themselves from unnecessary sun exposure.
Modern Surgery Logistics
Undergoing cataract surgery used to mean recovery times that hindered your daily life and left patients with vision that was improved, but not perfect. Most individuals still needed glasses to see well either up close, far away, or both, despite having surgery.
Now, new surgical methods and improved intraocular lens technology have transformed cataract surgery from a major event to a procedure that’s much easier and far more successful. For this reason alone, cataract surgery is becoming a more viable option for both younger and older patients.
Imagine if a cataract is clouding your vision enough to interfere with your responsibilities at work, and despite only being 38 years old, you know that you need to do something about it. Simply take a few days off from work, let your ophthalmologist implant an advanced intraocular lens, and you’re ready to take on the world.
Surgery For All Ages
It it’s not clear by now, cataract surgery is an option for nearly all ages. While some children need to have their lenses replaced to improve their quality of life, a proactive desire for better vision is a decision that nearly any ophthalmologist will support.
Perhaps the only caveat for performing cataract surgery on those who are at an advanced age comes with the consideration of additional medical conditions that may make any kind of operation too risky. Individuals of any age who have questionable health concerns would be wise to consult with their ophthalmologist before deciding to move forward.
When the promise of better vision and all that comes along with it is so close to becoming a reality, there’s no reason that something like your age should prevent you from thinking cataract surgery isn’t for you. After all, age is only a number, right?