Cataract Care and Treatments

The gift of sight is something very special and needs to be protected. Cataracts are a common cause of vision loss in people around the world, especially in seniors. The good news is that they can be treated and eye sight can be restored.

Understanding Cataracts

A cataract is caused when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is comprised of mostly protein and water. When the protein clumps together, it forms a film that can block or cloud a person’s vision. This is what doctors call a cataract. As time goes by, the cluster of protein can get bigger, blocking out the light.

Risk Factors

There are several main risk factors for cataracts including aging, injuries, and illnesses. Many older adults experience some degree of cataracts during their lifetime. As people get older, the lenses of their eyes become less flexible and thicker. People who smoke, drink alcohol in excess, or are overweight may be more susceptible to the formation of a cataract. A healthy lifestyle helps decrease those risks. An eye injury or a previous surgery can also increase the chances of developing a cataract later in life.

Symptoms

There are certain signs that indicate a cataract such as:

  • Impaired night vision
  • Cloudy vision
  • Halos
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dulling of colors
  • Double vision

These symptoms may be barely noticeable at the beginning, but become stronger as time passes.

Eye Doctor

One of the best ways to deal with any change in vision is to see an eye doctor. An eye exam that includes a vision test and lens check should be done on a regular basis. The optometrist checks the external parts of the eye including the lens for any signs of a cataract. There are three tests that are generally used including:

  • Visual acuity
  • Slit-lamp exam
  • Retinal exam

The tests indicate what treatment is needed.

Treatment Options

Prescription glasses help people see better, but when cataracts begin to interfere with daily activities, it is time to consider other options. Cataract surgery is often done to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an intraocular lens. This is an artificial lens that is clear and allows patients to see more clearly. This procedure is usually done using a numbing local anesthetic on an outpatient basis. Healing time is relatively short and most people see improvement within a few weeks.

Seeing the world clearly can make life more enjoyable. Cataract removal and proper eye care gets people on the right track to a healthier more productive life.