8 Things You Should Know About Cataracts

by Bethany
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Cataracts are a common ailment that affects millions of Americans. Most people associate this eye-related problem with people in a certain age group, which is not completely wrong because the chances of developing cataracts increases with age, but there is more to it than that. There is a lot to worry about at any given time. It is only natural to want to be as healthy as possible to avoid some of the ailments haunting others like cataracts. The symptoms associated with this issue affects sight and can diminish quality of life.

The issue has plagued eye specialists for years. People have taken steps to combat this problem, but the issue is not solved. Some eye health specialists know what precautions to take and usually advise patients accordingly, but a lot of Americans fail to see their eye doctors as recommended. Seeing an eye specialist can do a lot of good for a person’s overall eye health, like catching early symptoms of this problem, making it easier to tackle.

8 Things You Should Know About Cataracts

The following is a simple overview of cataracts and a little bit of everything you might want to know about this ailment. You are going to learn about the common symptoms so that you know what to look for should you suspect this issue is affecting you or your loved ones.

Common Symptoms

You should know what to look for so that you are better prepared. One of the most common symptoms (if not, most telling) associated with this issue is the clouding of the eye lens. A person dealing with cataracts will have trouble reading or driving a vehicle. It is said that this will make it seem like you are looking through a fogged-up window rather than the clear vision you are used to.

It should be noted that the stage just mentioned is pretty advanced, but there are other signs worth noting that show up earlier on. For example, you might have trouble seeing clearly at night or in dim lighting. You might start to notice slightly blurred or clouded vision. Some people start to have sensitivity to strong glares or even light though light can sometimes make it easier for people with this condition to see.

People with this problem might start to see halos around light sources or may start to see colors fade more and more. It is not uncommon for a person developing this issue to change his or her eye glasses or contact lenses prescription. Double vision is another problem you might start noticing during the early stages of this problem.

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Common Causes

Cataracts occur with tissue changes in the eye lens. One of the common causes for this tissue change is age, but certain eye injuries could also lead to a change that could result in cataracts.

It should be noted that genetic disorders or certain health issues could also put you at risk of developing this problem. For example, a person who had a eye surgery has a higher chance of getting this ailment than a person who has not. People who have diabetes or use steroids might also be at risk.

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Common Types

The following are some common types worth knowing:

Nuclear Cataracts: This form of the disease affects the center of the eye lens sometimes causing nearsightedness; some even read better for some time though this is short-lived.

Cortical Cataracts: This type affects the edges of the lens rather than the center, causing whitish opacities or streaks around the eye lens that make it hard to see in light.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts: This type affects the back of the eye lens, which usually makes it hard to see in bright light. Remember that this type progresses quickly.

Congenital Cataracts: Congenital cataracts is a type that some people are born with and is usually linked to genetics though it can develop from intrauterine infections.

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There are a number of tests designed to discover this issue, like some of the following:

Visual Acuity: This test is designed to test the acuity of each eye by making you read letters that gradually decrease in size. Any impairment might signal a problem worth exploring.

Slit-Lamp Exam: The slit lamp gives the eye specialist the opportunity to see the eye under magnification to discover any possible abnormalities that could be signaling something more serious.

Retinal Exam: Your eye specialist is going to put a few drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils in order to see the back of the retinas for abnormalities.

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There aren’t many other solutions as effective as surgery when dealing with cataracts, especially when vision corrective devices (glasses or contact lenses) no longer work. Most eyes specialists are going to talk to you about this option when you have trouble with day-to-day activities like driving at night.

The surgery’s goal is to remove the affected lens or the part that is affected by cataracts. The eye specialist is going to replace the lens with an artificial substitution normally called intraocular lens though some people just use corrective vision devices instead.

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Surgery Recovery

It should be noted that this type of treatment is the outpatient kind, meaning that surgery recovery takes place at home rather than in a hospital. Local anesthetics are used, but the patient is awake during the procedure. Of course, this does mean a person cannot operate heavy machinery or consume alcohol after the surgery for a little while.

Eye specialists will likely recommend some precautionary steps to prevent infection like avoiding the urge to touch. There may be some discomfort felt for the first few days though it does go away. Still, full recovery may take up to eight weeks.

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Reverse Cataracts Without Surgery

It would be nice to say that you could reverse cataracts without surgery, but this method is the most effective way of dealing with this problem. Of course, sticking to a healthier lifestyle can help halt or prevent this issue, but it does not cure it.

A diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids might help, paying close attention to the antioxidants in dark berries like bilberries. Again, these are just meant to help and not cure. There have been some preliminary positive outcomes with a natural compound called N-acetylcarnosine or NAC, for short, in the form of drops. It seems like the drops disperse the cloudiness, but the results still need further testing.

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What Do Cataracts Look Like

No one can see the signs of cataracts with the naked eyes, at least in its early stages, but that does change as time goes on. Those who wonder what do cataracts look like can learn to see the visible signs, which are pretty obvious.

The eyes are going to get pretty clouded. For the most part, the center or the sides of the eye are going to develop a yellow-like look though some people begin to develop a brownish color. There are others who see an off-white look instead of the common yellow.

Keep in mind that these signs are telling you that the cataracts are already pretty advanced, so make sure you make an appointment with your eye health specialist as soon as possible. Hopefully, some of these points make it easier for you to understand a little more about this condition and what your options are should you or your loved one develop it.