Clear Cloudy Vision with Cataract Surgery

Close-up of woman's blue eye. High Technologies, contact lens

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but if you have cataracts -- a condition marked by protein clumps in the lenses of the eyes that cause cloudy or fuzzy vision -- it can be hard to tell the beauty in anything. More than half of us will have a cataract by the time we’re 80. The good news: You can clear your vision with a simple outpatient surgery. (Having trouble seeing? Know the signs of cataracts.)

Is Cataract Surgery Right for You?

While prescription glasses or contact lenses can help with vision loss caused by a cataract, your vision may eventually get so bad that it affects your day-to-day life, such as your ability to drive, read or watch TV. Many people opt for cataract surgery so that they can remain independent, stay active or continue to work. For these reasons, researchers are seeing a significant rise in the number of Americans getting the procedure, and getting it earlier on.

Find out if your vision changes are a normal part of aging.

Is the Surgery Safe?

Cataract surgery is one of the most common, safe and effective operations performed in the U.S., with a success rate of around 90%. About 5% of people have complications, such as swelling, infection, bleeding, glaucoma or a detached retina. People who have another eye disease in addition to the cataract are more likely to have a complication. The longer you delay cataract surgery, the harder the cataract becomes. This makes the operation more difficult for your eye doctor to perform in a safe manner.

How Long Will It Take to Recover?

Cataract surgery is a relatively simple procedure that only takes about 30 minutes. In most cases only local anesthesia is necessary, and patients can go home on the same day. After the surgery you can expect some mild discomfort and itching for a couple of days. Eye drops may be given to prevent infection and you might be asked to wear protective eye gear. Your vision will be blurry at first, and then begin to clear up over the next few days. The complete recovery time is about 8 weeks.

Can I Prevent Cataracts?

There is no surefire way to avoid developing cataracts, but there are things you can do to help lower your risk. Here’s how to protect your peepers:

  • Seek shade. The sun can contribute to early cataracts. When outside, wear a hat with a brim and sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.
  • Call it quits. Smoking may damage the lens of the eye by leading to the formation of free radicals. High levels of free radicals can damage cells, including those in the lens of the eye, which can lead to cataracts.
  • Nourish your eyes. Several studies have shown that people who eat the most foods rich in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, such as spinach and other dark vegetables, are less likely to develop cataracts than those who eat the least. Feed on these 7 foods.
  • Keep diabetes under control.
  • Schedule a visit. Routine eye exams help detect early signs of cataracts, as well as other eye problems that can affect your vision. Find out when you should see your eye doctor.

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