Cataracts typically occur in older individuals over the age of 40. Basically, they are a natural cloudiness that form over the eyes’ lens. They plague millions of people each year, though cataract eye surgery isn’t always a must.

More minor forms of cataracts can be overcome with a pair of prescription glasses. Doctors will often monitor them to determine if and when surgery is needed.In many cases, patients go years without requiring surgery.

Yet when cataracts reach the point of interfering gravely with a person’s eyesight, surgery to remove them should be strongly considered, especially under the following circumstances.

1. Cataracts Are Interfering with Your Daily Routine

Symptoms of a worsening cataract include dim, blurry or yellow-tinged vision. One particularly problematic symptom is double vision in one eye, as this can lead to dizziness and disorientation.

When these symptoms begin to interfere with the things you love doing, such as reading, board games, cooking, sewing and exercise, it could be time to consider surgery.

2. Cataracts Are Preventing You from Driving Safely at Night

When cataracts begin to interfere with nighttime driving, it’s a sign that their development has reached a dangerous stage. If you start seeing halos around lights or find yourself squinting in low-light driving conditions, your cataracts are probably getting quite bad.

Usually, it’s unsafe to drive in such conditions. If your cataracts are sufficiently advanced, they could prevent you from passing a basic driver’s test due to their interference with your vision.

3. Cataracts Are Getting in the Way of Your Outdoor Activities

If you’re someone who enjoys skiing, surfing, motorboating or any of a range of other outdoor physical activities, cataracts can greatly interfere with your lifestyle. They increase sensitivity to glare, making participation and focus on any of these recreational activities much more difficult.

Additionally, cataracts often develop separately in each eye, creating visual differences between your eyes. This can negatively impact distance vision, which is needed to maintain focus and balance in sports like baseball and golf.

4. You Can No Longer Manage Your Cataracts Through Other, Nonsurgical Methods

There are certain home remedies that can be used to manage cataracts before they become too severe. Some useful methods include increasing bright lighting and contrasting colors in your home.

Things like magnifying lenses can help with reading when cataracts start to interfere with your eyesight. Wearing polarized sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats also assist with the glare that particularly impacts those with cataracts. When these methods cease to work, it’s a sign that surgery may be your best option.

5. Untreated Cataracts Are Beginning to Create Inflammation in Your Eyes

When cataracts are left untreated for a long period of time, they can cause inflammation in your eyes. Inflammation is a serious issue because it can indicate the onset of glaucoma. Intraocular (inner eye) pressure is also caused by cataracts and can also lead to glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a form of disease that causes severe damage to the optic nerve and can lead to blindness if not treated. In such scenarios where inflammation or inner eye pressure occurs, it’s extremely important to perform surgery on cataracts to prevent the development of glaucoma.

In general, early-stage cataracts aren’t anything to worry about. However, if you find that they’re starting to affect your life, it could be time to consider surgery. Think about speaking to your doctor and exploring your options if you find yourself in any of the situations outlined above.