San Diego, California - Some degree of vision clouding caused by cataracts occurs in most people as they age. But according to the May issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, there’s no need to rush scheduling the surgery to remove the cataracts.

The right time for surgery should be determined by weighing expected improvements in vision against the very slight risk of a less than ideal outcome.

There are several types of age-related cataracts with subtle differences. Except in rare instances, cataracts develop painlessly and gradually, leading to vision changes that include:picture of eyes - normal and with cataracts

  • Increasingly blurred or dim vision
  • Increasing difficulty with night vision
  • Sensitivity to bright light and glare
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Double vision in one eye

In the early stages of the disease, adjustments such as different eyeglasses, brighter lighting and wearing sunglasses to reduce glare may compensate for vision changes. When cataracts interfere with daily tasks, surgery should be considered.

Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States for adults older than 65. The surgeon removes the clouded portion of the eye’s lens and implants an artificial (intraocular) lens in its place. Surgery usually is an outpatient procedure lasting less than an hour. Typically, it’s done on one eye at a time. The procedure usually involves minimal anesthesia, tiny incisions and quick recovery. Complications, such as infection, bleeding, inflammation and swelling, are relatively rare.

In otherwise healthy eyes, cataract removal results in improved vision 95 percent of the time.