How Do You Know When You Need Cataract Surgery? 9 Signs to Consider

How Do You Know When You Need Cataract Surgery? 9 Signs to Consider

May 16, 2023

Table of Content

Cataract surgery in Chicago is a common and safe procedure that can improve and restore clear vision. It is important to recognize when cataract surgery is necessary so you can make an educated decision. 

In this blog, we will answer “how do you know if you have a cataract?” what warning signs to be aware of, and when it’s appropriate to receive surgery.

9 Common Signs You Need Cataract Surgery 

When should you have cataract surgery? Typically the answer is when the cataract develops to the point it causes visual impairment. Generally, this is when the vision becomes significantly reduced and begins to impact daily activities. While the signs below are good indicators, an eye exam is the best determiner.

#1 Blurry Vision

#1 Blurry Vision

You develop cataracts when the natural lens in the eyes becomes cloudy, blocking the passage of light entering the eye. This reduces the sharpness of your vision, making images appear blurred or hazy. If your vision seems to be getting blurry, you should see your eye doctor for an appointment immediately.

#2 Difficulty Seeing in Low Light

When driving at night, halos around lights can be distracting, and make it difficult to see. If you're concerned about your vision while driving, visit your eye doctor immediately. Driving at night with cataracts can be dangerous, so it's best to arrange a ride with a friend or family member until you can have cataract surgery. Your safety and the safety of others are of the utmost importance.

#3 Frequent Prescription Changes

If your prescription for contact lenses or glasses is suddenly changing more frequently, it could be a sign of cataracts. When glasses and contacts cannot improve your vision, undergoing cataract surgery is the way to restore your vision.

#4 Sensitivity to Light

#4 Sensitivity to Light

Cataracts can cause light sensitivity. The clouding of the lens impairs the eye's ability to focus light, reducing the amount of light that reaches the retina, and causing glare and lights to appear too bright. If you experience light sensitivity, your eye doctor will want to conduct an eye exam to determine the cause and prevent any further visual changes.

#5 Halos

Halos are described as luminous circles around bright objects, including stars in the night sky, car headlights, and computer screens. A refractive error can cause this optical illusion in the eye, which is usually the result of a cataract. In addition to halos, cataracts can also lead to other vision problems, including glare, double vision, and blurred vision.

#6 Second Sight

When cataracts occur, some people experience a phenomenon called second sight. This occurs when the vision temporarily improves, typically when the cataracts are nuclear, forming in the center of the lens. It is important to note that the improvement in vision is only temporary and may eventually lead to the vision becoming worse.

#7 Double Vision

#7 Double Vision

Double vision is caused by the eye's cloudy lens, which prevents light from properly focusing on the retina. As a result, images become blurred and distorted, often resulting in double vision. Double vision can make it difficult to complete everyday activities, such as driving, cooking, walking up and down stairs, and watching television.

#8 Color Changes

If you have cataracts, it may seem like you're constantly looking through a dirty window. Colors may appear dull and faded rather than bright and vivid. In some cases, colors that are usually white may look yellow or even brown due to the color of the cataract.

#9 Reduced Ability to Distinguish Contrast 

Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become clouded, disrupting the passage of light to the retina and diminishing the ability to perceive color contrast, so the eye can't differentiate between hues.

Things to Consider When Deciding to Get Cataract Surgery Is Necessary

Things to Consider When Deciding to Get Cataract Surgery Is Necessary

If you are uncertain about when to have cataract surgery, don't just rely on the advice of your friends. Speak to your eye doctor to determine the best option for you. There are several factors to think about when making this important decision.

Loss of Vision

You do not have to wait until your cataract symptoms become severe before deciding to have surgery. When your blurry vision and other cataract symptoms interfere with activities you enjoy and your quality of life, it is time to consider surgery.

Eyeglasses, brighter lights, and magnifying lenses may help relieve some symptoms, but if they no longer offer relief, it is time to consider cataract surgery. Unfortunately, no drug or eye drops can prevent cataracts.

Cataract surgery can often improve your vision and even correct other vision problems that myopia treatments, farsightedness treatments, and astigmatism treatments fix.

Quality of Life

With impaired vision, activities like reading, watching TV, sewing, and playing golf can be challenging, and daily tasks like buying groceries and cooking can become more complicated. Driving may be out of the question, leaving you to rely on others for transportation.

All of these things can negatively impact your quality of life. Cataract surgery may be the right choice if you want to regain your independence, participate in activities you enjoy, and regain your confidence.


Cataracts can increase the likelihood of injury from bumping into things or falling. Cataract surgery can help to:

  • Improve safety while driving;
  • Retain independence;
  • Lower the risk of falls and injury;
  • Increase feelings of safety when going about your daily routine.

Your Eye Health

If left untreated, cataracts can cause inflammation of the eyes and a rise in intraocular pressure, which could lead to glaucoma. If your doctor cannot thoroughly examine your eyes due to cataracts, it is time to consider surgery, especially to avoid additional glaucoma treatment.

Types of Replacement Lens

Types of Replacement Lens

When getting cataract surgery, you must choose an intraocular lens (IOL) as a replacement lens for your natural lens. If you want to avoid glasses, multifocal lenses may be the best choice as they provide clear vision for both near and far distances.

Monovision occurs when one artificial lens is designed to correct distance vision and the other near vision. This is another option that can allow you to achieve spectacle independence. For those with pre-existing astigmatism, toric IOLs and light adjustable lens (LAL) can provide further improved vision.

Your surgeon can help you choose the lens that best meets your needs, lifestyle, and preferences to ensure you have the best visual outcome.

The Cost of Cataract Surgery

Does Medicare cover cataract surgery? Yes, Medicare does cover cataract surgery. Medicare Part A covers most of the costs associated with cataract surgery, including the doctor's fees, hospital fees, and eye exams. Medicare Part B covers the cost of the cataract surgery and any necessary lenses or medications. The average cost of cataract surgery in the US is around $3,500 per eye.

What Happens If You Delay Cataract Surgery?

What Happens If You Delay Cataract Surgery?

Having cataract surgery earlier can have several benefits. Cataracts can cause difficulty during daily routines, and can even be dangerous, such as when driving at night. If left untreated, they can lead to vision loss and even blindness.

Furthermore, the longer cataracts are left untreated, the thicker, darker, and denser they become, making the surgery more complicated and the recovery period longer.

On the other hand, in some instances, patients can wait to have cataract surgery. In the meantime, your eye doctor can recommend stronger prescription lenses or bright lights to aid vision.

Helping You with the Decision-Making Process 

Helping You with the Decision-Making Process 

The Kraff Eye Institute in Chicago has been a leader in cataract surgery for many years. Our experienced surgeons, state-of-the-art technology, and compassionate care make us a top choice for those looking to have safe and successful cataract surgery.

We only recommend cataract surgery when necessary. With the help of our team, you can rest assured you'll receive the highest quality of care and the most advanced surgical techniques. Book a consultation today!

The Need for Cataract Surgery FAQ

How fast do cataracts develop?

Expand F.A.Q.

The rate of cataract progression varies from person to person and mainly depends on the type of cataract. Some cataracts progress slowly over several years, while others can progress quickly over a few months.

How can you tell if your cataracts are getting worse?

Expand F.A.Q.

You may notice your vision becoming increasingly blurry or cloudy, experience difficulty seeing at night, or halos may appear around lights.

Are cataracts visible in a mirror?

Expand F.A.Q.

No, cataracts are not visible in the mirror. To detect cataracts, an eye doctor must perform a comprehensive eye exam, dilate your pupils, and examine the lens of the eye.

Dr. Colman R. Kraff

Committed to advancing new technologies in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Colman Kraff helped to pioneer laser vision correction. In February of 1991, as part of a five-site, U.S., FDA clinical trial team, Dr. Kraff successfully performed the first excimer laser procedures in the Chicagoland area using the VISX Excimer Laser.

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