Cataracts: The Basic Information

cataracts treatmentClouded vision can be a metaphor for questionable wisdom, or it can be a reality for people with cataracts. Cataracts are like a cloud over the eye’s lens, beginning small but often growing until they negatively affect vision.

Symptoms of cataracts

  • clouded, dimmed, or blurred vision
  • light sensitivity
  • a need for brighter light to read by
  • seeing rings around lights
  • frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions
  • double vision when only one eye is open
  • colors appear faded or yellowed

What causes cataracts?

The lens of the eye does the camera-like work of focusing on objects and sending bright, clear pictures to your brain. As you age, proteins on the surface of the lens can clump up. These clumps of protein are the cataracts. They often begin small and unnoticeable, but when they grow to cover more of the lens, the cataracts obscure vision and cause some or all of the above symptoms. Most cataracts develop in the eyes of older people, but they can also be caused by genetics or certain medical conditions. Some habits and/or conditions (such as smoking, alcoholism, obesity, and excessive exposure to sunlight) put people at a higher risk for the growth of cataracts.

Treatments

In the beginning stages of cataracts, the mild symptoms can be relieved with non-invasive treatments such as

  • new eyeglasses
  • brighter lighting
  • anti-glare glasses

However, when the cataracts begin to interfere with your daily activities, such as driving, reading, and using the computer, you and your doctor need to have a talk about cataract surgery. Patients should take their time and learn as much as they can beforehand because delaying the surgery will not make the surgery less effective or harder to perform. Cataract surgery is a very common surgery with a high success rate. The operation to remove a cataract typically lasts less than an hour, and it is nearly painless. Most patients return home the same day.

If you are experiencing vision problems, and you’re not sure if a cataract is causing it or not, schedule an appointment with Hampton Roads Eye Associates.   Hampton Roads Eye Associates in Oyster Point treats patients with beginning and advanced cataracts in their office, providing every treatment option from lenses to laser assisted surgery.  Contact us today at (757) 643-8800.

 

June is Cataract Awareness Month

cataract-awareness-monthIn honor of Cataract Awareness Month, Hampton Roads Eye Associates is providing some useful information to help you understand the disease and how to protect yourself. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world and affect more than 22 million Americans aged 40 and older.

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. Fortunately, vision loss due to cataracts can be restored with a common procedure.  Cataract surgery is one of the most frequentlyperformed procedures in the United States and has over a 90 percent success rate.

Risk factors for developing cataract include:

  • Family history of cataract
  • Diabetes, smoking
  • Extended exposure to UV rays
  • Serious eye injury
  • Use of steroids

 Cataracts generally do not cause pain, redness or tears. However, these changes in your vision may be signs of cataract:

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

To learn  more about the Cataract surgery options offered at Hampton Roads Eye Assocaites, please visit our website.

Can I prevent cataracts?

There is no proven way to prevent age-related cataracts. However, making these healthy decisions may help to slow the progression of cataracts:

  • Avoid or quit smoking
  • Reduce exposure to UV rays
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Wear proper eye protection to avoid eye injury

One of the most important ways we can protect our vision is to make a commitment to take care of your eyes today. This includes getting a dilated eye exam, which helps to protect your sight for the future not just from cataract, but other eye diseases as well. If you  have not had your yearly eye exam, you can schedule one today by calling us at 757.643.8800, or filling out our online form.

The Benefits of Cataract Surgery

Cataract patientsCataracts are, usually just a normal symptom of the aging process. In most cases, they affect people who are aged 60 or over.  A cataract is a clouding on the lens of the eye, causing blurred vision. Cataracts tend to develop slowly and in the early stages there may be no symptoms. But as years pass and the cataracts progresses, vision problems become more noticeable.

If left untreated, cataracts can cause progressive loss of vision and even blindness. Fortunately, for the vast majority of people it is a condition that is easily rectified. In fact, it’s one of the most common surgery performed in the world today.

Some of the first signs that indicate that a cataract has developed include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night time vision
  • Colors seem less sharp
  • Seeing halos and star-bursts when looking at bright lights

If you have one of more of these symptoms, you should talk to your ophthalmologist and find out if you have cataracts and if you are a candidate for cataracts surgery.

After your eye has had time to heal from the operation, your overall vision should be greatly improved. Your vision will be much clearer, colors will appear sharper than they did before, and your ability to see at night will increase. In greater than 90 percent of cases the patient’s vision is greatly enhanced.

One of the greatest benefits of cataract surgery is the increased quality of life. Many research studies show that cataract surgery has many lifestyle benefits – for reading, working, driving, playing sport and so on.

In addition, studies show other advantages of cataract surgery include:

  • More independence
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Better mental health
  • Safety
  • A reduction in falls
  • A greater enjoyment of social activities and passions and hobbies

As you can imagine, improved vision immeasurably enhances overall life satisfaction and enjoyment. If you want to learn more about cataracts, schedule an appointment today to discus your options in treating your vision.