Cataract surgery is usually recommended when people feel their quality of life is affected and their ability to perform normal activities (driving, reading or engaging in sports) is compromised. When cataract symptoms begin, you may be able to cope temporarily with a new prescription for your glasses, strong bifocals, magnification, appropriate lighting, or other visual aids. However, cataract symptoms will continue to progress and you will ultimately need surgery.
It’s important to know that you cannot legally drive unless your vision is at least 20/50 (which means, you are able to see at 20 feet what the average person can see at 50 feet). If you enjoy the independence of driving, you may wish to have surgery earlier to avoid a temporary loss of your driving license. If driving is not essential, you may choose to stop driving and delay surgery until the cataracts interfere with other activities.
The three most common symptoms of cataracts are:
Hazy, Blurred Vision
At first, a cataract has little effect on your vision and starts out small. You may notice that your vision is slightly blurred, as if you’re viewing the world through a cloudy piece of glass. This is the most common symptom of cataracts.
Glaring, Bright Vision
A cataract may make light from the sun or a lamp seem too bright or glaring. You may notice when you drive at night that the oncoming headlights cause more glare than before (also known as “night halos”). Colors may not appear as bright as they once did.
Temporary Improvement of Near Vision
When a nuclear cataract (formed deep in the nucleus of the lens) first develops, it can bring about a temporary improvement in your near vision, called “second sight.” Unfortunately, the improved vision is short-lived and will disappear as the cataract worsens.
A subcapsular cataract (which occurs at the back of the lens, and is associated with people with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medications) may not produce any symptoms until it is well-developed.
When you feel that your blurred vision interferes with your day-to-day life, surgical remedies should be considered. A thorough eye exam will determine whether you have cataracts. At the Herzig Eye Institute, your diagnosis will be confirmed and you will be thoroughly educated about your options.
HOW NEW ADVANCEMENTS IN CATARACT SURGERY BENEFIT YOU
Modern cataract surgery is performed using ultrasound energy. For many years, surgeons have replaced the eye’s old, cloudy, or discoloured lens with a new, clear acrylic, or silicone intraocular lens (IOL). The most common form of IOL for cataract surgery is monofocal, designed to correct vision at one distance. This procedure is routinely and safely performed by Herzig Eye Institute surgeons in hospital and is covered by OHIP.
However, we also offer you the option of our Advanced Refractive Cataract treatments performed at the Herzig Eye Institute. With new advancements in refractive cataract surgery and premium intraocular lenses, many cataract patients can have better vision after Advanced Refractive Cataract surgery than they had before they developed a cataract.
“The availability of the TECNIS Symfony IOL is welcome news for many of my patients,” says Sheldon Herzig, M.D., co-founder and medical director at the Herzig Eye Institute. “The new lens effectively improves both near and distance vision without glasses following cataract surgery, while maintaining excellent night vision. Eliminating the need for reading glasses has been one of my patients’ greatest needs, and has a significant impact on their quality of life.”
Dr. Herzig has been a pioneer in the use of the Symfony lens. “The beauty of this lens, says Dr. Herzig, “is that it can give the person both distance and reading vision.”
Cataracts are a vision problem that nearly all of us will face as we age. If you are concerned that you or someone important to you may have cataracts, call the Herzig Eye Institute today.
If you’re not a resident of Canada, no problem. Many patients from all over the world have come to Herzig Eye Institute for their cataract and refractive surgery. Simply contact us and we will walk you through the process and help you organize consultation and travel plans.