Archive for June, 2020

Identifying Cataracts with these Six Warning Signs

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, cataracts affect approximately 25 million Americans age 40 and older, and by age 75, nearly half of all Americans will have cataracts.

Cataracts will progressively worsen over time, so it’s crucial to understand what cataracts are and educate yourself about the stages of progression.

Truly understanding will help you treat symptoms early and help slow the progression of cataracts.

What is a Cataract?

As we age, the natural lenses of the eye begin to harden and yellow, becoming cloudy. This now opaque area over the lens is called a cataract. Cataracts will prevent light rays from passing through the lens, which makes it difficult to see.

Cataracts range in terms of severity, and the correct treatment depends on the degree of advancement and type of cataracts you have. Some of the symptoms that accompany cataracts include the following:

  • Clouded, blurred or dim vision.
  • Poor night vision.
  • Sensitivity to light and glare.
  • Need for brighter light for reading and other activities.
  • Seeing “halos” around lights.
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription.
  • Fading or yellowing of colors.
  • Double vision in a single eye.

Keep reading for more details about the main warning signs and symptoms.

Cloudy vision.

One of the most apparent signs of early-stage cataracts is the appearance of noticeable fuzzy spots in your field of vision. These spots typically start as relatively small abnormalities, but over time they will worsen, making daily activities harder than before.

If you experience sudden and continual cloudy vision, make an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Increased light sensitivity.

For people with emerging cataracts issues, discomfort with bright lights will become increasingly noticeable and challenging.

Consult your doctor if bright lights cause you to squint or close your eyes, or if you develop sudden headaches from bright light.

Difficulty seeing at night.

Patients with the beginning stages of cataracts also report a gradual decline in nighttime vision. Cataracts often cause vision to darken or dim and may also lead to slight hints of a brown or yellowish color.

These early changes are not usually noticeable during the day when there’s plenty of light to compensate for dimming vision but will be instantly noticeable at night.

The appearance of halos and glare.

As the eye lens hardens and becomes cloudy, cataracts sufferers may notice halos and glare in their field of vision. Light passing through cataracts is diffused, causing glare and halos around bright sources of light.

Seeing double.

Diffraction from the lens clouding in a cataract can actually lead you to see two or more images of a single object. Which is not only bothersome but can impair vision.

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Eye exam results.

In the earliest stages of cataracts, a person may have difficulty noticing changes to their vision. That’s why regular eye examinations are strongly recommended for older adults. Ophthalmologists can detect the presence of cataracts before sufferers report any noticeable vision problems.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms be sure to make an appointment with an eye doctor right away. Be sure to keep in mind that cataracts will cause significant changes in vision and it’s important to get a handle on it as soon as possible.

Know that you don’t have to continue suffering from cataracts, complete our simple online contact form today and let’s get you scheduled for an evaluation.

Cataract FAQ’s

Who gets cataracts? What are cataracts? What are the symptoms? Can they be prevented? What can I expect with surgery?

These are some of our most commonly received questions about cataracts and cataract surgery.

Keep reading for some frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about cataracts and cataract surgery and maybe get some of your questions answered in the process!

What is a cataract?

A leading cause of vision loss in older adults, a cataract occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded. This can occur in one or both eyes, though it cannot be transferred or spread from one eye to the other.

When a cataract obstructs the lens, it cannot focus properly on images, which results in blurred or dull objects.

Who gets cataracts?

Most cataracts develop over time and affect people over age 50. About half of the U.S. population has a cataract by age 65, and nearly everyone over age 75 has at least a mild cataract in one or both eyes.

Occasionally cataracts are found in younger people, including the rare instance of newborns who have congenital cataracts.

What causes cataracts?

Many factors can contribute to the development of cataracts. Chemical changes can occur within the eye lens that cause it to become cloudy. This is usually due to aging; it may be heredity, from an injury, or due to disease.

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation present in sunlight, cigarette smoking, or the use of certain medications are all risk factors for the development of cataracts.

[Need help choosing some protective eyewear this summer? Check out this blog post!]

Can cataracts be prevented?

Currently, there are no proven methods to prevent cataracts from forming.

This condition cannot be prevented or corrected by medication – the most effective way to treat a cataract is through surgery to completely replace the old, clouded lens with a new, artificial lens.

What are the symptoms?

There are several common signs that a patient has developed a cataract, including:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Trouble seeing well at night.
  • Glare or halos around objects.
  • Sensitivity to bright light.
  • Double vision.
  • Loss of color vision – Colors might look yellow, brownish, or faded.
  • Needing new glasses or contact lens prescriptions more often.

How are cataracts diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye exam, performed by a primary eye care doctor, will reveal if a cataract is present. The eye doctor can refer you to a surgeon, like Dr. Harris, for a comprehensive cataract evaluation, where he or she will offer an expert opinion for treatment options.

Need a primary eye care doctor? Please visit the Affiliated Physicians page to help you find a doctor who works closely with our team.

How are they treated?

If a cataract develops to the point that your daily activities are affected, you will be referred to an eye surgeon who may recommend the surgical removal of the cataract. The surgery can generally be done in the surgeon’s office using local or topical anesthesia.

Using a small incision, the surgeon will remove the clouded lens and, in most cases, replace it with an intraocular lens implant. Medication is generally placed in the eye after surgery, and the eye may be patched.

Is surgery the only way to treat cataracts?

Your optometrist can prescribe changes in your eyewear that will help you see more clearly until surgery is necessary.

When eyewear no longer provides adequate eyesight, surgery is the only proven means of effectively treating cataracts. Luckily, surgery is relatively uncomplicated and has an excellent success rate.

What happens after surgery?

Recovery time is typically one or two days. Still, every person is unique, and your healing experience will depend on your eye’s underlying health and the ease of your surgery. That’s why it is imperative to plan regularly scheduled visits for your surgeon and technician to monitor your progress.

Blurry or foggy vision is typical immediately after surgery, and your eyes may feel slightly sore or gritty. These symptoms will improve, and irritation will lessen within a few days.

Cataract surgery is safe and effective, and we make the process as painless as possible at Cataract Consultants.

If you have more questions or are considering surgery, please contact the team at Cataract Consultants right away. You are worth the investment!