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The Cloudy Concern: What You Need to Know About Cataracts

May 2, 2011

For most of us, the most common experience with cataracts is with our trusty dog that is in its golden years. Our beloved pet start greying around the muzzle and getting cloudy, greyish eyes. These are the tell-tale signs of cataracts.

They are reminders that our bodies are on a physiological time-clock. Our parts and pieces begin to change too, especially our eyes.
When do most people usually face emerging cataracts? They can start to form between the ages of 40 and 60. At first, they don’t have an impact on vision, but as the cataracts become more dense, they begin to significantly effect vision.

So, what is a cataract? It’s when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, which may cause blurry eye sight. In some cases, blurring worsens over time. It makes it and is especially difficult for people to see on bright sunny days or to drive at night. Colors tend to be less vibrant and more muted (likely caused the a yellowish tint that is part of the cataract). A cataract is usually painless.

The bad news. Nobody knows what causes cataracts. There’s nothing that scientifically concludes on the cause or prevention of cataracts. It’s theorized that they may be caused by excessive sunlight, smoking, even unhealthy eating habits. Who knows. In younger people, cataracts may be attributed to illness and injury, reactions to medications and persistent inflammation of the eye.

The good news. Cataracts are easily treatable. Normal eyesight can be restored with cataract surgery, and with the implantation of new technology implants, glasses can be reduced and eliminated.

The first step to overcoming cataracts is to remain attentive to your eyes. If you suspect an emerging cataract, see your eye doctor. Better yet, make sure you have regularly scheduled eye exams.

Cataracts Are Easy To Treat, Quick Too

Initial treatment focuses on eliminating blurriness. This is usually a quick fitting of new glasses or contact lenses. It is not uncommon to have frequent changes in glasses as a small cataract continues to grow.
Because cataracts degrade eyesight over time, cataract surgery is eventually recommended when one is unhappy with their vision and it cannot be improved with a glasses change. If surgery is required, it’s a relatively benign process with a quick recovery time. Some patients see very well the day after cataract surgery, while others may require some time to recover.

Here’s the cataract surgery procedure. The surgeon removes the clouded lens of the eye, then replaces it with a new lens (IOL). Doing this requires a small incision at the edge of the cornea. The surgeon inserts a small ultrasonic probe that breaks up the clouded lens into a bunch of tiny parts, which are then suctioned out of the eye. From there, an intraocular lens is inserted to replace the cataract. This is then perfectly aligned by the surgeon resulting in the return of vision. Stitches are usually not needed for this surgery.

IOL Choices. There are several different types of implants available today. With a standard implant, bifocals may still be needed following surgery. With te new premium implants, only reading glasses, or no glasses at all may be needed following the surgery.

If you suspect a problem, seek professional eye care. At OCLI, we’d love to evaluate your eyesight.

Nobody should see the world in a cloud. There’s too much wonder and beauty to experience.

Cataracts, Did You Know?

Ninety percent of the population will develop an eye cataract before they turn 65. Even though it’s easily treated, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. Well over two million cataract surgeries are performed each year; in fact, cataract surgery is the most common therapeutic surgical procedure performed on senior citizens. Cataracts are not a precursor to cancer, as was once thought. Nor are cataracts are caused by over-using the eye, and they cannot transfer from one eye to the other. Source: LiveStrong.com

Additional Resources About Cataracts

National Eye Institute

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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