istock 1183408347Statistically, cataracts represent one of the most common conditions among older adults. This eye disease leads to clouding that gets progressively worse over time. Although it can take years, cataracts can become bad enough to impair normal activities. When this happens, or before life is severely impacted by cloudy vision, a person can have cataract removal surgery. This procedure replaces the clouded lens with an artificial lens that is clear and cannot develop cataracts on it. Sometimes, the procedure is performed on one eye. Here, we discuss what happens when both eyes have cataracts.

What are Cataracts?

The term cataract describes an accumulation of protein on the lens of the eye. These proteins are part of the natural lens so cannot be removed. Cataracts cause vision to become cloudy because the lens is at the front of the eye. Light must pass through the lens to reach the cornea, which is curved to bend light. Without a clear layer of tissue, light cannot pass through efficiently. At first, minor clumps of protein can cause colors to look dull. As smaller clumps form a larger accumulation of proteins, it can feel like looking through a fogged window.

Cataracts are not contagious and do not “pass” from one eye to another. Still, some people do get cataracts in both eyes. They may form at different times and develop at different speeds. When both eyes have cataracts, doctors don’t treat them in a single procedure. Two surgeries are scheduled a few weeks apart. What patients need to know is what happens in between.

Vision Imbalance after Cataract Surgery

Vision is formed by the light that enters each eye. With or without refractive errors, cataracts, or other conditions, the eyes adapt to various situations to form the best vision possible. Therefore, when cataracts form, the eyes are constantly adapting. And, when cataracts are removed from one eye, adaptation happens again. In this instance, vision imbalance is common. Vision imbalance is temporary. Within a few days, the eyes should acclimate to their new norm. In the interim, patients are encouraged to slow life down to give themselves time to recover without an increased risk of accidental bumps and bruises.

Cataract removal can be one of the best things a person does for themselves. If you have cataracts, you don’t have to wait to obtain treatment. Contact our Winchester, VA office at 540-722-6200 today.

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