Do you suffer from cataracts? Are you considering Cataract Surgery to correct and restore your vision? Read on to learn more about cataracts and cataract removal, from the cataract removal experts at Access Eye Institute.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a common condition that causes clouding of the eye’s normally clear, natural lens leading to a decrease in vision. Simply put, a cataract is a cloudy lens. If left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness and thus are the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. Millions of people, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65, are affected each year. 

The lens of the eye is primarily made up of protein and water. The protein is formed in a way that makes the lens transparent, however as we age the lens can become less flexible and thicken. These and other changes can cause the lens to degenerate, causing the cloudiness that we see as cataracts. 

If the lens becomes cloudy, normal vision can be prohibited as images are no longer able to pass from the cornea to the lens and then reach the retina. The blockage of clear vision makes images cloudy, which means when they reach the retina they are no longer able to be correctly passed to the optic nerve and thus to the brain. This is what causes vision disturbances and loss in some who have cataracts. 

Symptoms of cataracts often include:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Double vision
  • Poor vision in bright light
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Poor vision at night
  • Yellowish tinged vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglasses or contact lens prescription

What Causes Cataracts?

There are numerous reasons one might be more susceptible to getting cataracts, including:

  • Age- Aging causes the proteins of the eye to break down, leading to cataracts. Further, the older a person is the more likely they are to have been exposed to things that can cause cataracts, such as UV light, medication, and other eye-related issues. 
  • Genetics- Those who have relatives with cataracts are at a higher risk of developing them.
  • Medical Conditions- Conditions such as diabetes can lead to cataracts. Rising levels of glucose can affect the cells of the lens, leading to cataracts. Other medical conditions such as those requiring steroid treatment also put one at a higher risk of developing cataracts. 
  • Long-term Medication Use- The  use of certain medications long-term, particularly steroids, can lead to the development of cataracts. 

How are Cataracts Diagnosed?

If you suspect you or someone you know may have cataracts, the first step is to make an appointment with a board-certified ophthalmologist at Access Eye Institute immediately.

A thorough examination and series of tests are the only ways to diagnose a cataract. A dilated eye exam is usually necessary so that your ophthalmologist may examine the lens and other structures of the eye as well.

There are many advantages to treating cataracts when they are symptomatic and affecting your activities of daily living. A thorough examination and discussion with the eye specialist will allow you to become better educated about your condition and to make an informed decision about your cataract.