If you have cataracts, you’ll know that they impact your vision, making it difficult to see clearly. Cataracts usually make vision appear ‘cloudy’ or blurred, and over time this visual impairment usually gets worse. They also make it difficult to see in low lighting and to see very small up-close objects, which makes it difficult to pursue hobbies such as sewing or reading. The only way to cure cataracts is to carry out surgery to remove the cloudy lens in the eye and implant an artificial one that is clear. After cataract surgery, you can expect your vision to become clear again and you can also expect to experience some other surprising side effects.
Reduced cognitive decline
A study followed people who had undergone cataract surgery over a period of 13 years. It discovered that the rate of cognitive decline in people who had the surgery was less than in those who had not.
It’s believed that the reason for this is that if the quality of imagery entering the brain is low, then this means that parts of the brain are no longer needed to process them. This means that certain parts of the brain begin to atrophy, contributing to cognitive decline. By having the surgery, the imagery entering the brain is high quality and therefore the brain has to keep working in order to process it.
Having cataract surgery also gives people the ability to remain involved in the community and to take part in activities that engage their mind. These things are both important factors in the prevention of cognitive decline.
Before cataract surgery, your world can start to feel quite small. If your vision is impaired, it is difficult to have the confidence to go to new places that are unfamiliar to you or to try new things. Having new experiences is essential for our wellbeing, and so by having cataract surgery you will likely find that you gain confidence and as a result start to lead a more fulfilling life.
A side effect of cataracts is that colors can start to lose their contrast – it’s very common for cataract sufferers to see everything tinged with shades of brown or yellow. Cataract surgery will restore colors to their former brightness, which in turn will help you to feel happier. Some people find the world so bright after cataract surgery in comparison to what they have been used to that they even have to wear sunglasses more frequently!
Your vision and your balance are linked. If your vision is compromised, then it is likely that your balance will be too, and this can lead to things like more trips and falls, which as we grow older have a greater chance of causing injury. Cataract surgery can actually help to improve your balance because you’ll be able to see more clearly.
Astigmatism is a condition that usually has to be corrected through the use of glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery. If you have astigmatism, it’s actually possible to opt to have a lens as part of your cataract surgery that corrects your astigmatism and in some cases removes the need for glasses or contacts altogether!