Save Your Eyesight with Cataract Surgery
Did you know that having eye surgery for cataracts can keep you from breaking a hip?
Yes, studies have shown that there is a 16 percent decrease in the chances that a senior will fall and break a hip after they have had cataract surgery, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. And, it’s 13 percent less likely that you will be involved in car accidents after you have had cataract surgery according to another study.
Improved vision makes a big difference in your safety and health. Cataract surgery saves the eyesight of those 65 and older, and improves the quality of their lives, studies show.
Cataracts are a natural part of aging. The natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy with age. Some symptoms of a developing cataract are dim, blurry vision, double vision, sensitivity to glare, requiring brighter lights to read, and needing frequent changes in eyeglasses. Smoking and prolonged exposure to UV rays of sunlight can worsen cataract development.
Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment. About three million Americans have cataract surgery each year. Cataract surgery is not what it used to be. Actually, it’s much more affordable than ever, and it is usually an outpatient procedure, not requiring an overnight stay in the hospital. It is a very safe surgery. During surgery, an ophthalmologist can remove the cataract, which is a cloudy lens, and replace it with a clear artificial lens implant. Treatment with eye drops and a restriction on lifting and driving will be necessary for a few weeks after surgery.
When you turn 40 years old, it is good to have a baseline eye exam, so that the doctor can track changes over time. More than half of all Americans will have cataracts by age 80, according to the National Eye Institute. So, after you’re 65 years old, it is best to have an eye exam every year just to keep your vision sharp and detect any problems early.
If you cannot afford to pay for an eye exam, there is help from EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which provides eye exams free to people age 65 and older who meet eligibility requirements.
If you suspect you might have cataracts, then get an exam for a diagnosis, and don’t delay the surgery. Caregivers and their loved ones can save their vision and their health by being aware of their eye health.