An eye exam is needed to detect cataracts. The aging process is directly related to cataracts. Over half of all people aged 65 or older have some degree of cataract development. Simply put, a cataract is a clouding of a transparent part of the eye called the lens. The most common symptoms of cataracts are cloudy or blurry vision, colors appearing faded, increased glare from lamps or headlights or frequent changes to one's eyeglasses prescription. It's important to have these symptoms checked by an eye-care professional, like Dr. Larry Morrison, Dr. Michael Morrison or Dr. Becky Vandeberg, as they can also be a sign of other eye disorders.
What Are Cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. The normally clear lens lets light enter the eye. As it becomes cloudy, less light enters and vision becomes blurry. Cataracts are common with age and can occur in one or both eyes. The clouding of the lens usually happens slowly over time. But it can happen quickly.
What Are The Symptoms
Cataracts are not painful. But you may notice these symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Details are hard to see
- Glare when driving or reading
- More light is needed to read
- Some colors seem dull
- Your prescription for glasses keeps changing
- Double vision in one eye
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts may be caused by many things, including the following:
- Diabetes or other eye diseases
- Past eye infections, injuries, or surgery
- Some medicines (such as steroids)
- Too much ultraviolet (UV) light, especially from sunlight
- Cataracts can also run in families
Removing the Cataract
Doctors usually operate on only one eye at a time. The clouded lens may be broken apart (phacoemulsification) with a special instrument. The doctor removes the lens pieces through a small opening. Then a new artificial lens is placed in the eye through the same opening.
Since there is presently no medical treatment to prevent cataracts or reverse them once they develop, the only treatment for cataracts is their surgical removal. Today's cataract surgery is a marvel of medical technology: The surgeon gently removes the cloudy lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens implant to restore bright, clear vision.
First the surgeon numbs the tissue around the eye. After that tissue is fully numbed, the surgeon then makes a very small opening at the edge of the eye to allow special instruments to reach inside. The surgeon guides an ultrasonic probe to gently break up and extract the cloudy lens material. A specially selected lens implant is then carefully placed inside where the eye's original lens used to be, and the treatment is complete. The opening into the eye is so small that it typically requires no stitches whatsoever.
For more information on cataracts or to schedule an appointment, call the Morrison Eye Care office nearest you.