Cataracts could be to blame if your vision is fading or becoming darker. This is because cataracts slowly cloud the lens of your eye, either because the clear lens is actually darkening or because of protein clumps that form upon the lens. This can affect one or both eyes, and the gradual nature means you can lose quite a bit of vision before noticing a problem. Fortunately, cataract surgery can restore your vision. The following are some answers to some common questions about this procedure.

Question #1: How do you know it is a cataract?

Answer: Cloudy or blurry vision that comes on gradually, along with colors looking faded, are the most common signs. Night vision also becomes compromised, with light sensitivity, glares and double vision to blame. If you suspect an issue, make an appointment with your eye doctor. They can verify that the problem is cataracts by performing a visual acuity and eye pressure test. If cataracts are found, they will refer you to a surgeon.

Question #2: What is cataract surgery?

Answer: The surgical removal of the cataract involves the removal of the cloudy lens of the eye. It is then surgically replaced with a new artificial lens. These lenses are made of a special plastic that becomes a permanent part of your eye once they are placed. Your vision will be instantly clearer once healing begins.

Question #3: Are there any major risks?

Answer: The procedure is generally low risk, but as with any surgery there is a risk for infection. There are no major anesthesia risks since you are not put under for the procedure – only a local anesthesia is used so you don't feel any pain. There can be a risk of retinal detachment during the early healing phase, but this is usually fixable and vision loss is preventable if caught immediately. Keeping all of your follow-up appointments greatly reduces the chances of major issues.

Question #4: How long is recovery?

Answer: This can vary, but generally you should begin to experience some improvement almost immediately. You will still have blurry vision for the first few days after the procedure, which means you will not be able to drive. Most other daily activities can be resumed the following day after surgery, although any extreme activity, such as sports or exercise, should be avoided until your doctor gives you the all clear. You are considered recovered when your vision has at least reached pre-surgery clarity and when your vision stabilizes, which can take several weeks. At this point, your doctor will then refer you back to your optometrist to get a new prescription for your eyeglasses. 

Contact a business, such as Coastal Eye Care, for more information.