If you have just been diagnosed with cataracts, you may be thinking that surgery is the only option. However, the existence of cataracts does not necessarily mean that surgery is needed immediately, so it is important to understand your options before proceeding.

Commonly associated with aging, cataracts progress slowly over time and result in cloudy or blurred vision, sensitivity to light and glare, difficulty distinguishing certain colors and reduced vision at night.

In the early stages of cataracts, patients often find that their vision is not affected significantly. Any minor variations can be managed with eyeglasses or other lifestyle changes, such as utilizing brighter lighting, magnifying lenses and anti-glare sunglasses. As cataracts increase over time, weakened eyesight may begin to interfere with your daily activities, such as driving at night, or hobbies you enjoy like reading, cooking or detailed crafts. If your vision is no longer helped by eyeglasses, it may be time to consider surgery.

Cataract surgery is a highly successful procedure, but it is important to understand that complications can occur during or after surgery, some severe enough to limit vision. As with any surgery, a good result cannot be guaranteed. Based on your symptoms, you and your doctor should decide together if and when surgery is appropriate.

It can be difficult to determine if cataract surgery is truly necessary, so don’t hesitate to get a second opinion before moving forward. A second opinion from an independent party can enable you to make a well-informed decision about your eye care and may help prevent unnecessary surgery. When getting a second opinion, inform the doctor of your medical history and what tests have already been completed, the surgery methods you are considering, and what questions you have.

The final decision to proceed with cataract surgery belongs to the patient, so don’t feel pressured or rushed to make a decision. Unless cataracts are affecting another area of your health that warrants a timely procedure, there is time to consider your options.

If you choose to move forward with cataract surgery, it’s important to ensure the procedure is performed by an experienced, successful surgeon.

Schedule an appointment to meet your surgeon, ask questions and confirm you are comfortable with them performing your surgery. Important inquiries for a potential surgeon include how many procedures have been completed, the number of successful outcomes, complication rates and what to expect for postoperative care and recovery.

Choosing the eye care team that you will trust with the health of your eyes is an important decision. It is essential to feel confident and comfortable with the team of medical professionals that will be caring for you. Be certain you are confident with the services, capabilities, and technologies that are available to ensure that you are getting the care and treatment that is right for you. If you are unsure about any of these aspects, seek other options. Ask for a referral from your friends, relatives, or your regular eye doctor.

To schedule a comprehensive eye exam or If you have concerns about your vision, it is important to speak to a doctor to discuss treatment options.

With more than 25 years serving the Southwest Florida community Elmquist Eye Group’s caring doctors Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist, Dr. Kate Wagner, Dr. Sarah Eccles-Brown and Dr. Nina Burt are available to answer your questions.

Same-day appoints are available for emergency eye care needs, and Drs. Wagner and Eccles-Brown have extensive experience treating eye injuries from their time serving in the military. Elmquist Eye Group encourages proper eye protection by offering a variety of eye care options for exercise, including prescription and non-prescription eyewear, sunglasses in durable sports frames and designer optical lines like Costa and Oakley at its Optical Boutique locations in Fort Myers and Cape Coral. For more information, visit www.Elmquist.com, call 239-936-2020 or stop by an Optical Boutique.