Cataracts are an extremely common condition, and they present many complications for your vision. Cataracts cause blurred vision, decrease in color vision, sensitivity to light, difficulty seeing at night, and even double vision.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are clumps of protein that build up on the lens of the eye. The lens, located behind the iris, focuses light onto the retina, which is the part of the eye that receives light and transforms it into visual information.
The natural lens is made up mostly of protein and water, but it is balanced and arranged in a way that allows light to travels through unimpaired. These clumps distort and “cloud” images being received through the lens, and as the protein clumps become larger, they block more light from entering the retina. This is what causes vision to become blurred. Left untreated, the lens will become yellow tinted and opaque, causing blindness.
There are different types cataracts, depending on where they form on the lens. A subcapsular cataract forms at the back, a nuclear cataract forms in the center (nucleus), and a cortical cataract forms in the part of the eye that envelops the nucleus.
What Causes Cataract Development?
Cataracts typically form in elderly patients, but researchers have not yet discovered why the lens changes as we age. There are many other factors that can contribute to the formation of cataracts, such as overexposure to sunlight, diabetes, genetics, smoking, alcohol use, substance abuse, and family history.
Cataracts may not be able to be prevented at all, though there is research being done on whether or not certain nutritional supplements can aid in prevention. It is strongly advised to wear proper UV blocking sunglasses, to quit smoking, consume a balanced diet with plenty of nutritious fruits and vegetables, and to receive yearly eye exams.
Cataracts are only treatable through a quick, painless surgery. Luckily, cataract surgery is one of the safest and most performed surgeries. Ninety percent of patients that undergo cataract surgery report significantly improved vision afterwards. The surgery only lasts for about an hour.
During cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon at Commonwealth Eye Center will completely remove the natural lens through small incisions in the cornea. Once the natural lens is removed, it will be replaces with a crystal-clear intraocular lens (IOL). There are many types of IOLs to choose from, and you and your doctor will determine which is best for you. Many patients report that their eyesight after cataract surgery is even better than before they developed cataracts!
If you believe you are experiencing the beginning stages of cataract development, contact us immediately to receive more information on cataracts and set up an appointment. Dr Brear is dedicated to keeping your vision clear. Call today!