Cataract Awareness Month

| Dr. Eva Norman


Cataract surgery is a common surgery among seniors. The surgery itself takes as little as 15 to 30 minutes to perform. However, there is a healing time needed and recovery instructions are given according to what the particular case may require. In many cases if you wear corrective lenses you will be asked not to wear your lenses for a period of time before the surgery so that eye measurements are correct according to your actual eye and not the altered vision provided by your corrective lenses. However, your ophthalmologist will give you complete instructions for before, during and after any cataract surgery. Most people have some mild discomfort in the eye area but intense pain and aching is not an usual symptom after surgery. You will have some unusual symptoms such as gray areas around the corner of your vision, streaks of light flashing through your eye, or a shimmering effect with your vision after cataract surgery is performed. This is completely normal and your surgeon will give you instructions regarding all of the normal and possible side effects of the surgery itself.

What is a Cataract?

Although cataracts are most common as we age, it is not necessarily always seniors who get cataracts. It is possible for infants to be born with a cataract or in rare cases children to develop a cataract; again, this is far from common. Most people have the first stages of a cataract in their 40’s or 50’s and may not actually realize it. Some may choose to have the cataract looked at by an eyecare professional; while others may decide to hold off on having surgery until the effects of having a cataract become life altering. In 95% of cases where surgery is chosen the patient has confirmed that their eyesight is improved, making this a highly successful surgery.
CataractsA cataract is basically a clouding of the eye’s lens, producing cloudy vision. As it worsens the natural lens gets more and more cloudy. Sometimes there is deterioration in the ability to see colors and they may become muted as the cataract worsens. The surgery is a fairly common and simple method where your surgeon will remove your natural lens and replace it with a plastic lens. It is rare that surgery is ever needed by “emergency” and some people may choose other methods to improve their eyesight before they choose surgery. Once surgery is completed on an eye you can never grow a cataract again; however, there are times when the membrane behind the lens can become cloudy. This cloudy membrane creates a similar effect as a cataract but it is not a cataract. The cloudy membrane can easily be repaired/removed with laser surgery with minimal issues after the surgery. Not all people will suffer from the clouding of the membrane but it is not completely uncommon.

Cataracts Can Form As a Side Effect from:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain medications – including steroid based medicines
  • Arthritis
  • Short-Sightedness
  • Sunlight Exposure
  • Radiation Treatments

How Can Live Your Life Physical Therapy Help Those With Cataract(s)?

Live Your Life Physical Therapy can give you guidance with regaining your balance, utilizing a mobility assistance device such as a cane or walker, and give you tips on making your home safer because we come to you in order to give you personalized, one on one treatments. While your eyes are healing you may be limited in exercises and will need approval from your surgeon or ophthalmologist to return to certain activities. However, if you feel unsteady on your feet LYLPT can provide you with ways to remain fall free both while you have a cataract and while you recover from cataract surgery. If you are waiting to have surgery, have one of our physical therapists come to your place of residence and give you guidance on preparing your home so that you can remain safe before, during, and after cataract surgery. We want you to Live Your Life FALL FREE from the side effects of cataract and cataract surgery.

Dedicated to Keeping You Healthy & Healing,

Dr. Eva Norman
President & Founder
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Live Your Live Physical Therapy, LLC

Cited Works for this article:
Australian Government of Victoria – Better Health Channel, “Cataracts” – October 2013

Intelihealth – Aetna in Partnership with Harvard Medical School “Cataracts” – April 17, 2014

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