According to the Archives of Ophthalmology, April 2004, most cataracts are associated with the aging process and are common among older Americans. In fact, recent studies have estimated that 20.5 million Americans over age 40 (17 percent) have a cataract in one or both eyes, and more than 6 million in this age group (5 percent) already have had cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is necessary when clouding of the lens of the eye causes impairment or loss of vision. Early symptoms of a cataract include strong glare from lights at night, as well as reduced vision acuity at low light levels. Over time, vision can become impaired, and in advanced cases loss of vision can occur.
These symptoms may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If you’ve tried these things and more but to no avail, you may be an excellent candidate for cataract surgery as it is the most effective treatment.
The surgery involves the removal of the natural lens of the eye, and replacement with a synthetic lens, effectively restoring lens transparency. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure during which general anesthesia is used. There is typically little or no discomfort to the patient, and over 90% of cataract surgeries succeed in restoring useful vision.