Over the age of 66 cataracts are very common and affect more than 240 million people worldwide. As cataracts develop, the lens of the eye, which is normally clear, becomes cloudy which can cause a variety of issues with sight. During the early stages, cataracts have little effect on vision and can go unnoticed for a while. However, as the cataract development progresses over time, the symptoms may start to hinder your ability to carry out everyday tasks and enjoy recreational activities. In fact, there are many surprising ways cataracts interfere with everyday activities. Here are a few:
1. Difficulty Reading
A common cataract symptom is blurry or cloudy vision. Some describe it as the sense of having a "film" placed over the eye(s), which makes it very hard to see small details clearly, like the text on a page or the labels on medicine bottles. It starts with simply needing more light than usual, but as cataracts progress, it may become increasingly challenging to read or write. For people who love to read the newspaper or curl up with a great book, this can seriously impact everyday life.
2. Driving Restrictions
Being able to drive means being independent and most of us take this freedom for granted. With advanced cataracts visual symptoms that affect night vision — most notably, glare, starbursts and halos around lights — become more problematic. As a result, vision loss with cataracts means that you need to rely upon someone else to drive you to the places you need to go, as your driving may be restricted to only daylight hours for safety reasons.
3. Constraints on Household Activities
Simple things like cooking meals, doing the laundry and maintaining your home takes a lot of time and work each day even with good vision. However, when you can't see clearly, regular household activities can take much longer and it can become significantly more challenging. For example, when you can't see clearly, you could miss a key ingredient in your recipes or suck-up small valuables while vacuuming. Even things as common as glancing at the clock to see what time it is can become frustrating when you have blurred and clouded vision.
4. Inability to Participate in Hobbies
People with cataracts often report that colours appear dull and faded, sometimes described as having a yellowish tinge. Since most hobbies and leisure activities, from crafts, photography, fishing, sewing, golfing to travelling require good vision, cataracts can make these activities less enjoyable and possibly unsafe, for example, woodworking or archery.
5. Difficulty Walking and Exercising
A less common but problematic cataract symptom is double vision. Seeing two of everything can make it particularly difficult to perform tasks that require coordination of the eyes and other muscle groups. Daily activities like walking around the house without bumping into things can be impacted with double vision. Even without the symptom of double vision, tripping or falling over may become a concern because you can't see details clearly like a rug or a step in front of you.
The Benefits of Cataract Surgery
Although the development of cataracts can have a negative impact your everyday life and impede on your ability to enjoy the things you used to, the good news is that cataract surgery (lens replacement surgery) is a safe, effective way to restore your vision back to how it was — and possibly even better!
Lens replacement surgery is the only cure for cataracts, giving many people the experience of 20/20 vision to enjoy life to the fullest. This procedure takes only about 15 minutes per eye and most people can resume their daily activities and hobbies within a few days after the procedure. Cataract surgery improves quality of life, increases independence and reduces the risk of falls, hip fractures and automobile accidents.
If you find that your cataracts are decreasing the quality of your life and you want to move forward with treatment, trust the cataract experts at Auckland Eye to improve the quality of your vision and get your life back on track. To book an appointment with one of our highly skilled and experienced ophthalmologists call 0800 25 53 93. We look forward to welcoming you!