Do You Know Cataracts?
- Posted on: Jul 15 2019
Developing cataracts is anything but rare — in the U.S. around 30 million people over the age of 40 have cataracts. But what do you really know about cataracts, the principle cause of blindness worldwide?
Let’s cover a little Cataracts 101 in this month’s blog. After all Dr. Rom and his team at Insight Eye Center have performed over 25,000 surgeries to replace cataracts-clouded lenses with clear, technologically advanced intraocular replacement lenses.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts affect the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. The lens is a clear film that focuses what the eye is seeing on the light-sensitive retina, which is located on the back of the eye. When we’re young the lens is like a new window, crystal clear. But with age and factors such as sun exposure, proteins in the eye form clumps that begin to cloud the lens. As the proteins build, the lens becomes cloudier, eventually affecting visual acuity, especially at night. To stay with the metaphor, looking through a cataract-clouded lens can be akin to looking through a dirty window.
Cataracts develop slowly, so the patient usually doesn’t notice the increasing cloudiness until at some point it begins to impact the vision in the eye with the cataract. Cataracts can develop in both eyes, but they don’t usually form at the same time or progress at the same rate.
Cataracts are common in older people. In the U.S., it’s estimated that an 80-year-old has a 50/50 chance of either having cataracts or already having had cataract surgery. Cataracts can only be treated with surgery to replace the permanently clouded lens.
What are the symptoms if I have cataracts?
There isn’t any pain as a cataract develops in the eye. And development is slow. As a result, most people don’t realize they have a cataract in one or both eyes. Your eye doctor can spot them during your routine eye exams. These are typical symptoms:
- Decreased color vibrancy
- Blurred vision
- Poor night vision
- Increased glare
- Halos surrounding lights
- Double vision
- Frequently changing eyeglass prescription
- A feeling there is a film over the eye
Who is a good candidate for cataract surgery?
The only way to treat cataracts is through surgery to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). Most people start to notice the cataract is clouding their vision after their 60th birthday, often when it comes to night vision. Now this becomes a quality of life issue.
Do you have signs of increasing cloudiness in one or both of your eyes? Call Dr. Rom at Insight Eye Center in our Chardon office, (440) 286-1188, or our Mentor office, (440) 205-5840, and let’s check your eyes for the telltale clouding of cataracts.
Posted in: Cataracts