Everything You Need to Know about Cataracts and Their Treatment
The number of cataract cases exceeds that of other leading causes of blindness like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), it is very likely that half of all Americans who reach the age of 80 have some form of cataract or have already undergone cataract surgery.
Cataracts are largely age-related, but other factors can increase the risk of cataracts. This includes factors like diabetes, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and over exposure to ultraviolet light. While it is more common in people older than 60, having an eye exam once you reach 40 is highly recommended.
What are Cataracts?
A cataract can be defined as a condition where the natural lens of the eye gets clouded over time and subsequently affects a person’s vision.
Our eye lenses are made from water and proteins. Its main purpose is to focus the light into our eyes. The clearer the lens, the better we’re able to see. However, as we age, the proteins in our eye’s lens clump together – this clump is the cataract.
The cataract prevents our eyes from processing a clear picture of what we’re looking at by distorting the light that passes through the lens. To illustrate, look at a distant object. Next, put a clear plastic bag or cloudy piece of glass in front of your eyes. You may still see through the bag or glass, but the quality will be degraded.
Experts still disagree on whether cataracts can be totally prevented. Some studies show that Vitamin E and lutein-rich food and supplements can lower the risk. Despite the lack of any conclusive evidence, it is still a good recommendation to keep a healthy lifestyle.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Common symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision and colors are no longer as bright or distinct. Another symptom is that the sun or other light sources may seem too bright or glaring. You may also notice a brownish tint in your vision, which is gradually becoming darker; this can affect how well you see at night. Your eyes’ lenses also tend to become cloudy. If you suspect that you may have cataracts, see your eye doctor.
Depending on the severity of the cataract, your eye doctor generally has two types of treatments:
- Prescription Glasses – Non-severe cases where the cataract is not interfering with your daily life can still be helped with prescription glasses. As the cataract progresses, your doctor may prescribe stronger glasses or may even recommend surgery.
- Surgery – If the cataract is affecting your daily life, your doctor may suggest cataract surgery. During the surgery, the cataract affected lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens. If you have other eye problems, the doctor may advise using contact lenses or glasses instead of the intraocular lens. Note that in some cases, your doctor will advise the removal of the cataract because it is blocking the diagnosis of other issues within the eye.
Getting an Eye Checkup
If you are 40 years or older, we recommend getting your eyes checked regularly. Not only will this aid in detecting cataracts but will also help in detecting other eye problems. Vision Source has years of experience when it comes to treating residents of Greenacres, FL for eye problems. For more information please schedule an appointment, and we will be in touch with you shortly.