The Impact of Cataracts on Vision and What You Can Do
Cataracts are extremely common in older adults, though they can affect people at any age. Over time, natural proteins build up on the lens in the eye causing changes in vision. This buildup often progresses very slowly over many years, so many people do not even realize that they have cataracts until their visual impairment is more noticeable.
Common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Less vibrant colors
- Sensitivity to light
- Poor night vision
- Double vision
- Frequent changes to prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses
Early on, cataracts may not be too bothersome. Many people simply adjust to the slight changes in vision. As vision becomes worse, there are other coping and visual aid strategies that may be used:
- Improved lighting can make images easier to see.
- Magnifying glasses, stronger lens prescriptions (glasses/contacts), or large print fonts can help with reading.
- Using contrasting colors can help distinguish not only between objects but can also help show the edge of a counter or step.
- Limit driving at night when seeing is typically more difficult and there may be more glare from headlights and streetlights. Plus, darkness can make it more challenging to see obstacles that may be in the road, as well as to read street signs.
Scheduling regular eye exams can help to identify problems early on. Your optometrist can determine the severity of the problem and provide recommendations for coping with vision changes. They can also monitor progression of the condition.
While there is no way to prevent cataracts, they are treatable. Once vision is significantly reduced or begins to interfere with daily activities, your doctor may recommend surgery. Cataract surgery is used to remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear one. As a result, eyesight may be significantly improved. Glasses or contacts can help to correct any further issues. Surgery is often done on an outpatient basis, and patients go home within a few hours.
There is no rush to do surgery, so many people wait until it is truly necessary, choosing to manage symptoms in other ways up to that point. Deterioration of vision is often fairly slow. In the meantime, an in-home caregiver can provide support with completing tasks around the home as they become more difficult. Whether assisting with meal planning and prep, organizing mail, scheduling appointments, helping with light housekeeping, or accompanying someone on outings or reading with them, an in-home caregiver can be very beneficial. Many people are still capable of living safely on their own with some additional support as necessary.
Always Best Care helps seniors to get the help they need when they need it. Caregivers work with their schedule and the tasks they need assistance with, making living with cataracts a little easier. Contact Always Best Care of East Bay today at (925) 210-0323 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about available services.