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Elderly Cataract Surgery: Weighing the Benefits and Risks

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Over half of the American population 65 years or older will develop cataracts in their lifetime. Cataracts develop gradually in the lens of the eye and aren’t really that uncommon as one ages. Typically, seniors will notice a clouded area in normal vision, eventually leading to a decrease in clear sight. This can be temporarily improved with prescription lens changes or increased lighting, but surgery is often necessary to restore original vision. If your senior loved one is considering cataracts surgery, Kansas City senior care experts, Home Care Assistance, recommend thinking long and hard about the risks and benefits of the procedure.

What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a safe and effective outpatient procedure. Small incisions are made at the clear cornea’s edge and the head of the lens capsule is slowly opened. The cataract is carefully shaken apart by ultrasonic vibrations and then removed from the lens capsule. The incisions made are self-sealing, eliminating the need for any stitches to the eye.

What are the Benefits?

There are a multitude of benefits achieved after cataract surgery. Color vision is often improved with colors appearing more brilliant after the cataract’s removal. Visual clarity sharpens and television viewing or reading is enhanced. Corrective eyewear prescriptions may be naturally lowered and in some cases, patients may be able to resume driving once again. Employment, social activity, and personal interests become easier and more enjoyable after surgery.

What are the Risks?

Cataract surgeries have an over 98% success rate, but as with any surgical procedure, complications are possible. Many risks are rare but could include infection, eye hemorrhage and glaucoma. Swelling of the cornea is common, but generally improves on its own and prescription drops can aid this if necessary. Those who are nearsighted may have an elevated risk of a retinal detachment. Serious risks are minimal but do exist, and patients must decide for themselves whether cataract surgery is right for them.

If you are a family caregiver in Kansas City and your senior loved one is considering cataract surgery, talk over the benefits and risks with him or her so they can make the decision that’s right for them. If your loved one needs additional help after the initial procedure, look to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available around-the-clock and can assist with transportation, grocery shopping, light housework, and medication reminders. Call a Care Manager today at (913) 663-5000 to learn more about the services available near you.