Q: How young is too young to have cataract surgery?
A: Cataracts are a common part of the aging process, and most patients will develop a mature cataract after the age of 60. The first signs may include difficulty reading street signs especially while driving at night, a glare or halo effect while driving at night, and often times, patients say their prescription glasses aren’t helping them anymore. Whenever an ophthalmologist feels that the cataract has matured to the point of interfering with the patient’s vision, this is when the cataract should be removed.
Most cataract procedures are performed after the age of 60 due to the process of aging, however some patients may develop a cataract at an even earlier age. Although we associate cataracts with senior citizens, it is not completely uncommon to see cataracts in much younger patients in their teens and 20’s. For example, if you get hit or poked in the eye, it can cause what we call a trauma-induced cataract. Often times, diabetic patients can develop cataracts early on and some patients can be born with cataracts, which are called congenial cataracts. Other potential causes of early development of cataracts include eye disease, use of steroidal medications, and a family history of early cataracts.
The best way to know if you need cataract surgery is by having a dilated eye exam performed by an OCLI optometrist or ophthalmologist. He or she can do a series of tests to determine if your cataract has matured to the point that it needs to be removed. In the past, eye surgeons would wait until the cataract was ‘ripened’ before it would be removed. However, today, most surgeons will remove the cataract as soon as it begins to affect a patient’s vision. If the cataract is bothering your vision in any way, then it’s probably time to have it removed.
If your cataracts are interfering with your vision, regardless of your age, call OCLI at 1.866.SEE.OCLI and schedule a cataract exam at one of our 13 locations in Long Island. Our experienced laser cataract surgeons can help you determine the best treatment option that fits your lifestyle.