A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye which is normally transparent. The lens, located inside the eye, focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye allowing you to see. When your lens becomes cloudy, the images projected onto your retina become blurry and unfocused. You can compare this to looking through a dirty or cloudy window
What are the symptoms of a Cataract?
A cataract starts out small, and at first has little effect on your vision. As it begins to grow, you may notice that your vision is blurred a little, like looking through a cloudy piece of glass. However, as cataracts worsen, you are likely to notice some or all of these changes:
• Blurred vision that cannot be corrected with a change in your eyeglasses prescription.
• Ghost images or double vision in one or both eyes.
• Glare from sunlight and artificial light, including oncoming headlights when driving at night.
• Colors appear faded and less vibrant.
What are the causes of Cataracts?
Cataracts are part of the natural aging process of the eye and therefore, if you live to be over 65 years of age, you will likely eventually develop one. While most cases of cataracts develop as part of this process, there are instances of congenital cataracts which are present at birth. Further, secondary or traumatic cataracts can occur at any age as a result of an eye injury, surgery or disease. While the risk of developing a cataract does increase as you age, it is not the only risk factor. Research shows that there are environmental, health and behavioral risk factors that can also play a role in cataract development. Many of these risk factors are avoidable and preventable. These risk factors include:
• Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
• Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or other sources
• Certain medications such as steroids or statin medications
• History of eye injury or eye surgery
• Family history
Since they are largely a part of the the natural aging process of the eye, cataracts can’t necessarily be avoided, however knowing if you have additional risk factors can help you to take preventative steps to delay the onset of the condition.
How are Cataracts treated?
Treatment for cataracts involves surgery, but being diagnosed with a cataract does not mean that you need to have surgery immediately, or maybe ever. You may be able to live with symptoms of early cataracts for a while by using vision aids such as glasses, anti-glare sunglasses, magnification lenses, strong bifocals or brighter lighting to suit your needs.
Surgery should be considered when the condition begins to seriously impair your vision to the extent that it affects your daily life such as reading or driving, playing golf, playing cards, watching TV, etc.. The good news is that cataract surgery is typically very successful in restoring your vision. Together with your eye doctor, you will decide if and when the time for surgery has arrived.
Cataract surgery is one of most common surgeries performed in North America and has a 90% success rate (meaning the patient has improved vision, between 20/20 and 20/40 vision, following the procedure).
The surgery involves removing the clouded natural lens and usually replacing it with a clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL) that becomes a permanent part of the eye. It is a relatively quick and painless procedure and you will not feel or see the IOL after the implant.
Modern cataract surgery is frequently done as an outpatient procedure. Surgery is often done in one eye first, and surgery on the second eye, if needed, may be done 2-3 weeks later.
Optics of Scottsdale
20301 N. Hayden Road | Suite 100 | Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Phone: (480) 991-0509 | Fax: (480) 419-9515
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