A: During your scheduled eye exam, your doctor at Advanced Valley Eye Associates will be able to tell if your vision loss is caused by cataracts or a separate eye condition. Tests will likely be conducted to check your eyeglass prescription, measure glare sensitivity, color vision, night vision and central and peripheral vision. If you are in the beginning stages of cataract development, you may be able to recover your vision by just changing your glasses.
Q: When is the optimal time for cataract removal?
A: If you are experiencing vision loss that is interfering with your day-to-day activities, then it is most likely time for you to consider cataract surgery. The decision is yours and yours alone! Of course, you should feel comfortable discussing the risks and benefits with your doctor, and obtain some guidance with this choice. In rare instances, a cataract may need to be removed, because it makes it hard for your doctor to see the retina behind the cataract, because it becomes so cloudy. This can hinder a diagnosis or treatment of other eye conditions, so it may be suggested that the cataract be removed. In extreme instances, the cataract can also become so advanced that it alone can cause other eye diseases (i.e. glaucoma) and should be removed.
Q: What results can I expect from cataract surgery?
A: Cataract surgery has an extremely high success rate. In over 90% of cataract cases, functional vision is restored. However, as with any surgery, good results are never guaranteed. If there are other factors affecting the patient's vision, then the outcome may not be as perfect as expected. Your examination with Dr. Miller will help find out if other problems are affecting your vision. That discussion will help determine the kind of results you can realistically expect from cataract surgery.
Q: Is cataract surgery the best and only option?
A: The only effective way to remove a cataract is with cataract surgery. Medical treatments and oral vitamins have never been shown to be of benefit. However, surgery is not necessary just because a cataract is present. In early stages, symptoms may be mild and vision can sometimes be improved by a simple change in eyeglass prescription. But when cataracts cause enough vision loss to interfere with your day-to-day activities, removal may be the best course. The first vision loss due to cataracts may be poor vision at night only. For others, reading may be so difficult that books lose their attraction. These symptoms are sufficient to consider surgery. Talking to Dr. Miller can help you to decide if you desire surgery.
Q: How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?
A: With modern outpatient cataract surgery, it's possible to continue most of your routine activities within days after surgery. It is extremely important to attend the follow-up appointments at one-day, and one-week after surgery. While your vision will most likely continue to shift and change, the healing process may take a month or two. Check-ups are critical, because they allow the doctor to observe you, advise you, and alter your eye-drop medicines while you're healing.
Contact us at 530-757-6000 to schedule an exam with Dr. Miller at Advanced Valley Eye Associates.