Timing of Cataract Surgery
Cataracts usually progress slowly over time, though occasionally can progress more quickly. I tell patients that cataract progression is not under our control and that we are “along for the ride.” Cataracts are part of normal aging, but the rate of formation varies greatly.
Quality of Vision
Sometimes as cataracts progress we may need to change glasses prescription quicker with cataract progression, though usually cataracts progress slowly and more often do not change the glasses situation with progression. Though there are certain cataract situations that are more unusual or risky and may require surgery sooner, typically the patient with cataracts gets to make the decision of if and when to have cataract surgery based on if and when the patient’s vision is becoming blurry enough to become bothersome and frustrating in real life visual situations.
Currently in the United States the average age for cataract surgery is sixty nine years of age, though I tell patients that no one individually is “exactly average.”
Effect of UV Light
In Colorado, we have more sunny days and higher levels of ultraviolet light, especially in the mountains and at our higher elevation. Ultraviolet light can be damaging to the eye and is hypothesized to increase cataract formation, though this has been difficult to actually prove in scientific studies that we have more cataracts in Colorado, though it certainly “seems to make sense”. I personally like my sunglasses in Colorado and certainly encourage sunglasses outside for my patients.