Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the lens of your eye, and, in many circumstances, an artificial lens is inserted. The lens of your eye is clear, but as we age, so does our vision. When cataracts develop over time, they cause the lens to become cloudy, causing blurry vision and increasing glare from lights which eventually affects your vision. Cataract surgery is the treatment for this condition and is considered an outpatient procedure. There are eye tests done prior to cataract surgery. Elderly loved ones must have the family go along with them to every appointment. Why is this important? There is an assumption that how doctors (ophthalmologist) explain processes and procedures are understood by the hearer. This is so far from the truth! Many ears listening to the instructions and post-op care is crucial to a positive health outcome.
Signs Cataracts are Present!
What are some tell-tell signs you have cataracts? Are there problems climbing stairs, driving, reading, watching television, taking medications, or stating room lighting is dim? This list is not exhaustive, but if any of these are known, an evaluation is necessary. There are so many other problems that can cause vision disturbances, such as chronic diseases, cancers, glaucoma, or macular degeneration, which is why eye health should be a top priority. Vision problems can affect the independence that seniors work hard to maintain.
Considering Cataract Surgery-Have A Plan!
Driving is out of the question if cataracts are present in your loved one. Safety is so important and something I always stress! If daily medications are taken, the doctor may advise you to temporarily stop taking certain medications prior to the surgery. Taking a list of medications for appointments is encouraged. Note, if medications are being taken for prostate conditions, this should be revealed, as well as any anticoagulants, like aspirin or Coumadin.
As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, know that regular eye examinations are important to maintain healthy sight, especially after cataract surgery. These tips can go a long way to managing eye health. Loved ones are counting on you to be there for them. Make sure your loved one has regular check-ups and age-appropriate screenings, all necessary for an aging lifestyle.
Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager; CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.