A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, which prevents light entering the eye from being focused properly on the retina. Cataracts are a normal part of the aging process and can begin to affect the clarity of vision as early as age 50. Cataract formations occur at different rates and can affect one or both eyes. In fact, it is said that most people will develop cataracts if they live long enough.
Early changes may not disturb vision, but over time, cataracts will result in blurred or fuzzy vision, difficulty reading, and driving at night due to sensitivity to light and glare. People with advanced cataracts often say they feel as if they’re looking through a waterfall, or a piece of wax paper.
Currently, there is no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, the only way to achieve clear vision again is through cataract surgery. In your parents’ or grandparents’ day, cataract surgery was considered quite risky, required a lengthy hospital stay and was usually postponed for as long as possible. Today, cataract surgery is a comfortable outpatient procedure that allows patients to avoid the inconvenience and expense of a hospital stay. In fact, most patients’ vision recovers well enough to see to drive as quickly as one day after surgery.
Cataract surgery is considered to be one of the safest and most successful procedures performed in medicine today. It involves creating a microscopic pin hole size incision through which the cataract is removed and a foldable intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted to replace the clouded lens. This small incision seals itself naturally and allows for comfortable and rapid healing.
Symptoms of cataracts:
- Decreasing vision with age
- Blurred or double vision
- Seeing halos around bright lights
- Difficulty distinguishing colors
- Frequent prescription changes for glasses
- Difficulty reading
Causes of cataracts:
- Eye trauma or eye surgeries
- Some medications including long-term use of oral steroids