Due to many advances in medical technology and expertise, cataract surgery is more successful and easier to recover from than ever. But it may surprise you to learn that surgery is not typically your first treatment option for this common eye condition, and you may, in fact, never need cataract surgery.

Mitchell C. Latter, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist with office in South Pasadena, California. He is widely respected and appreciated for his medical skill as a physician who specializes in providing top-rated eye care using the most advanced technology available for conditions such as cataracts.

Dr. Latter is happy to offer a few practical tips about living with cataracts and when he might recommend surgery.

Learn a few quick facts about cataracts

The National Eye Institute notes that more than half of Americans over 80 currently have cataracts or have elected to undergo cataract surgery.

Younger individuals may develop cataracts after an eye injury. However, they’re typically caused by changes that begin at about age 40, when the normally clear lens in the affected eye starts to cloud over due to a buildup of proteins.

You may develop cataracts of varying degrees in both eyes, but for many individuals, only one eye is affected.

Monitor your symptoms

Rushing into cataract surgery is rarely necessary since the disease usually progresses slowly. Many individuals with cataracts don’t experience severe vision loss and are able to see comfortably with prescription changes in your glasses or contact lens strength.

Cataract symptoms may include:

  • Clouded or blurry vision often described as looking through frosted glass
  • Worsening difficulty seeing at night or in dim lighting
  • Increasing sensitivity to bright light, especially with night driving
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Faded colors
  • Visible changes in the appearance of the affected eye as the condition worsens

When treating you for cataracts, Dr. Latter’s goal is to monitor your symptoms carefully via routine eye exams to gauge the progression of the cataract(s) and the effect on your quality of vision.

Surgery is not typically recommended until the cataracts cause visual concerns that are no longer adequately correctible with prescription lenses.

Protect your sight

There are steps you can take to help decrease your risk of developing cataracts and protect your eye health once they develop.

These steps include:

  • Wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays when outdoors
  • Following a nutritious diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Managing conditions that can affect your eye health, including diabetes and hypertension
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol intake

When deciding on sunglasses, choose lenses that are 100% effective against both UVA and UVB light, which the label may also describe as UV 400.

Schedule routine eye exams

Comprehensive eye exams are painless and imperative for early detection of sight-threatening conditions such as cataracts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends adults have comprehensive eye exams once in their 20s and twice in their 30s, even if you’re not having problems with your vision.

If you do develop cataracts, Dr. Latter will recommend more frequent eye exams based on your circumstance and may eventually recommend surgery to restore your vision.

For a better understanding of your current eye health and more information about living with cataracts, schedule a visit with Dr. Latter today.

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