When your ophthalmologist has diagnosed you with cataracts, one of the first questions is “When should I schedule cataract surgery” I give my Charleston patients this answer: The best time to have cataract surgery is when your blurred vision is making it difficult to do things you want or need to do. In fact, many of my patients, after they’ve undergone the procedure, tell me that they really should have had it sooner.
Okay, there’s your “big picture” answer, but you may wonder if there is a month or time of year that lends itself better to cataract surgery? In fact, winter offers a lot of advantages to consider when you’re scheduling your procedure. Consider these things when planning for surgery:
Shorter days mean more night driving.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from my cataract patients is that, as the cataracts progress, it becomes increasingly difficult to drive after dark. Many people simply stop driving at night, but that can be difficult if you work or drive long distances to visit friends or family. In winter, there are fewer hours of daylight, which can be a real hardship for drivers with cataracts. Cataract surgery improves contrast and clarity and reduces glare, making driving at night much safer and significantly less stressful.
Cloudy skies and cloudy eyes can be a bad combination.
Driving in the rain is challenging even with excellent vision because of the glare and blurriness caused by drenched roadways and wet windshields. With cataracts, driving in the rain is even more difficult and dangerous because the cataracts amplify that blurriness and glare with an added layer of visual obstruction. After cataract surgery, you can see clearly, often at a range of distances, which makes driving in the rain that much safer.
Taking it easy is easier in winter.
Even though cataract surgery requires no sutures, patches, or needles, you’ll still need a few days of R & R after the procedure. You’ll want to refrain from strenuous activities and keep your eyes protected. (In a previous blog post, I go into more detail about what to expect after cataract surgery.) The cold, wet winter weather makes this time of year ideal for staying in and taking it easy.
Springtime will look better than ever.
One of the best reasons for scheduling your cataract surgery for wintertime is so that your eyes will be healed and seeing clearly in time for all the natural beauty and outdoor activity that comes with warmer weather. Since most people have cataracts in both eyes and the surgeries are usually performed about 1 week apart, scheduling cataract procedures for winter should give you plenty of time to recover before the sunnier seasons. After surgery, you will enjoy remarkable vision — often better than you’ve ever had — that can help you get more out of activities such as golf, fishing, tennis, boating, biking, or walking.
If cataracts are keeping you from driving, reading, or whatever activities enhance your quality of life, then it’s time to schedule cataract surgery. There’s simply no good reason to put it off. Our research shows that people wait an average of 5 years longer than they should to undergo cataract surgery, and that’s mostly due to fear and a lack of education about cataracts and cataract surgery. Let us help you with that. Contact us for more information about cataract surgery.