Cataracts are a common age-related condition, and it is estimated that 30% of people in the UK who are 65 years or older have a cataract that is affecting their vision in one or both eyes. Yet, it seems that younger and younger patients are developing vision problems – a 2015 audit by a leading vision clinic chain found that a fifth of their cataract enquiries came from people in their 40s and 50s.
When seeking advice on surgery, these younger patients are often advised to wait until they are at least 60 years of age. This can understandably be frustrating if the cataracts are causing issues in your daily life.
While it can be better to wait for cataract surgery, there isn’t necessarily an age limit. Patients do not have to wait until the condition deteriorates to a certain point before undergoing the procedure.
So, when exactly is the right time to have cataract surgery? Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know…
How severe are your cataract symptoms?
The main indicator of when cataract surgery is right for you, is the severity of your symptoms. Cataracts can cause several symptoms including:
- Cloudy or blurred vision
- You need brighter lighting to read
- Sensitivity to glare and light
- Double vision in one eye
- Difficulty with vision at night
If you have mild symptoms and it isn’t impacting your daily activities, surgery may not be required right now. If the symptoms are severe however, surgery should be undertaken as soon as possible.
In some cataracts, they can cause you to see halos around lights. This would present great challenges when driving at night. If the cataracts advance, you could also fail the vision test when it comes to renewing your driver’s license.
So, if the symptoms are severe and they do interfere with everyday activities, you will need surgery as soon as possible.
Cataract surgery can be performed at any age
Cataract surgery is mostly carried out on the over 60s. However, it can be performed on patients of any age. Technology has advanced a lot over the years, and modern cataracts procedures are much safer and more precise than they used to be. This means younger patients can now benefit from the surgery with minimal risks.
The surgery is known to improve vision in 95% of patients who have it. Most patients can return home the same day and the recovery is fairly quick too compared to what it used to be.
Older patients can also have the surgery without the risks that used to be present with older techniques. So, age isn’t a factor, it is more your overall health that will determine when cataract surgery is ideal.
Monitoring your cataract symptoms
You may find that your symptoms are not impacting your daily activities. In this case, delaying cataracts surgery is an option. However, you should closely monitor your symptoms as the condition can progress at a rapid pace. In some patients, cataracts develop slowly, whereas in others it can worsen suddenly with little warning.
Overall, there is no set age or time that you should undergo this procedure. It is a personal choice, unless your symptoms are restricting your daily activities. Book a consultation today with London and Berkshire cataract specialist Mr Zaid Shalchi to find out whether cataracts surgery could be suitable for you now.