Doctors say if you live long enough, it’s not a matter of if you develop cataracts; it’s a matter of when. Dr. John Snead, an eye surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Health, says from the outside of the eye cataracts can look like a cloud on the inside of the eye. For patients, that cloud can cause serious problems with their vision. “When you start getting your vision blurred, or you’re having trouble seeing at night, or you don’t feel like you’re getting enough light, those are symptoms that you probably need to get your cataract removed.”
He says cataracts are a problem anyone can develop as they get older. “Cataracts can only be treated by surgery. The new way is laser surgery. The older way was using only sound waves, and now we use light waves to dissolve the cataract and then it’s vacuumed out of the eye,” said Dr. Snead.
Cataract laser surgery is a 20 minute outpatient procedure. Doctors say the laser surgery is a onetime procedure that offers patients a better outcome. “Cataracts always get worse, so eventually anyone who lives long enough will need to have their cataracts removed if they want to keep seeing well,” said Dr. Snead.
Cataracts can affect both eyes. Patients are typically over the age of 60 before they need a procedure, but doctors say the problem can start 20 years earlier. “People start getting cataracts in their 40s but people get them earlier if they have certain conditions like diabetes,” said Dr. Snead.
Patients over the age of 40 are encouraged to start getting yearly eye exams to find cataracts early. “Doing the things that your mom told you to do like eating your green vegetables, taking a good vitamin once a day, getting good exercise, are about the only things people can do to keep their eyes healthy,” said Dr. Snead.
Cataracts are a progressive problem. If patients are experiencing symptoms it’s important they get their eyes checked.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.