Cataracts are an extremely common eye problem, affecting more than 50% of U.S. adults over the age of 80. It is also the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and currently, there is no cure to stop them from developing. Fortunately, there is a treatment that can restore the vision of those affected so that they can continue to enjoy a great quality of life.
If you are worried about cataracts, our experienced eye care specialists are able to evaluate your eyes and provide a diagnosis. We can then talk to you about your treatment options, providing you with the care you need to restore your vision.
Cataracts are cloudy patches that form on the natural lens of the eye and prevent light from passing through the eye properly, compromising your vision. Cataracts occur when the normal proteins of the lens, which are usually evenly dispersed to allow light to pass through them, start to change and clump together. They are progressive, and the more they stick together, the larger the cataract becomes and the greater the impact on your vision. Many people with cataracts describe the effect as trying to peer through frosted glass.
Cataracts can affect just one eye but usually develop in both, although the rate at which they progress can vary. When patients undergo cataract surgery to remove their cataracts and restore their vision, we recommend having one eye treated at a time. This ensures you can see through one eye while your other eye heals.
Cataracts can affect anyone at any time, but they are most often diagnosed in older people. Studies have also found that factors such as smoking, drinking lots of alcohol, suffering from diabetes, failing to wear eye protection including sunglasses, and taking certain medications can increase your likelihood of developing cataracts.
You may have a cataract if you experience any of the following symptoms:
A blurred or ‘foggy’ vision
Sensitivity to light
Colors look faded
Glare from car headlights, streetlights, or the sun is painful and hard to tolerate
Difficulty seeing in low light
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible so that your vision and the health of your eyes can be assessed.
When you first start to develop cataracts, your vision may be able to be improved using prescription glasses or contact lenses, and with brighter lighting. However, the only long-term treatment for cataracts is to have surgery to remove the natural lens of the eye and replace it with an artificial alternative.
Cataract surgery is extremely safe and one of the most common types of eye surgery performed in the United States. The surgery itself usually takes under an hour and is carried out using a local anesthetic, meaning that you don’t need to be put to sleep. A small incision will be made into your eye which will be used to remove the cloudy lens, and the same incision will be used to replace the lens with an artificial alternative. The incision will be left to heal naturally, but you’ll have a patch placed over your eye to keep it clean and secure. You’ll also be supplied with eyedrops which will reduce your risk of infection and accelerate the healing process.
It takes around 8 weeks to fully recover from cataract surgery, and during this time you will find that your vision is impaired. However, treatment is extremely successful with around 90% of patients experiencing better vision following their cataract surgery.
If you are concerned about cataracts and would like more information, or to schedule an appointment to discuss your eyesight, please contact our dedicated and experienced team in Dry Ridge KY or Ft Mitchell KY.