Answers provided by Dr. Mitchell Gossman, M.D., ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud
What are the chances that I’ll need cataract surgery in the future?
That’s a complex question that depends less on how rapidly cataracts develop, but rather more on human life expectancy, individual tolerance for blurred vision from cataract, occupational needs, and even neurologic health.
Every newborn in the hospital nursery is destined to develop cataracts because it’s a natural thing, and it’s a fact that there’s no way to avoid cataract surgery... except for those who do not live long enough! In a way, you “want to have cataract surgery” because it means that you’ve lived a long enough lifespan to get them.
Cataracts can develop at different rates and at different ages. There are 40-year-olds having cataract surgery. There are 90-year-olds who have not had surgery. However, the average age for having cataract surgery is about 75 years,. That’s just an average... everyone is different.
People differ in how much blurred vision they find tolerable. A surgeon doing microsurgery, such as ophthalmologists for example, need very good vision to do what they do. On the other hand, a 90-year-old who mostly reads, plays cards, and drives, etc. may not have as demanding visual needs as that surgeon, and will do just fine with cataracts that would pose a problem for that surgeon.
Another factor is that cataracts progress right around the time, unfortunately, that dementias such as Alzheimer’s can develop, so some patients may have very significant cataracts, but they are not bothered because of neurologic issues.
The bottom line is, do not fear cataract development because it’s natural, and you will know when you are needing surgery.
Find Out More
Dr. Mitchell Gossman is a comprehensive ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota. The office is located at 628 Roosevelt Road, Suite 101, in St. Cloud. To make an appointment or to learn more, call 320-774-3789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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