The word cataract is used to describe a natural lens that has turned cloudy. Cataracts are not a disease, but rather a condition affecting the eye, and affect millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65. In fact, there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy combined, according to Prevent Blindness America (PBA).
The lens clouds naturally as we age, it does not allow light to pass through it as well as it did when it was transparent. Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision. As the cataract becomes more mature (increasingly opaque and dense), the retina receives less and less light. The light that does reach the retina becomes increasingly blurred and distorted – this causes gradual impairment of vision. If left untreated, cataracts can cause blindness.
Signs and symptoms of a cataract may include:
Blurred or hazy vision
Reduced intensity of colors
Increased sensitivity to glare from lights, particularly when driving at night
Increased difficulty seeing at night
Change in the eye’s refractive error
Sudden changes in glasses prescription
How is a cataract treated?
The treatment of cataracts is based on the level of visual impairment they cause. When symptoms begin to appear, you may be able to improve your vision for a while using new glasses, strong bifocals, magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids.
A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. You and your eye care professional can make this decision together. Once you understand the benefits and risks of surgery, you can make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right for you. In most cases, delaying cataract surgery will not cause long-term damage to your eye or make the surgery more difficult. You do not have to rush into surgery.
Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens through a small incision. This clears the path for light rays entering the eye. Vision is then corrected through the insertion and implantation of an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). IOLs were first introduced as a treatment for cataracts more than forty years ago. Today, 500 million IOLs have been implanted worldwide. With the ever-changing technology, the results for our patients just keep getting better and better.
Our physicians use only the latest technology and techniques for the diagnosis and correction of cataracts, maximizing both comfort and results for our patients. Please give Fillmore Eye Clinic a call if you suspect that your vision is not as sharp as it once was.