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The Quick Cheat Sheet to Cataracts

March 7, 2017

For many people cataracts are an inevitable part of aging. If you don’t develop cataracts yourself, you will likely know someone in your family or circle of friends that will suffer from this form of vision loss. For those who want to be armed with info for themselves or to support a loved one, this quick cheat sheet to cataracts will give you a good start.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are an age-related form of vision loss caused by a collection of protein in the lens of the eye.  Cataracts develop as a result of age, however, there are cases of congenital cataracts.

How prevalent are cataracts?

The most common cause of vision loss in the world is cataracts. Fifty-one percent of the world’s blindness is due to cataracts according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the United States alone, more than half of Americans will have cataracts or cataract surgery by the age of 80.

Can cataracts be prevented?

While there is no way to completely eliminate the possibility of developing cataracts, specific lifestyle habits can speed up the development of cataracts. Smoking and eating a poor diet are two ways to increase a person’s chances of developing cataracts sooner rather than later.

Are there different kinds of cataracts?

There are a few different types of cataracts:

  • Subcapsular cataract: This cataract is found at the back of the lens.
  • Nuclear cataract: As the name suggests, this kind of cataract is buried in the nucleus, or central area, of the lens.
  • Cortical cataract: These kinds of cataracts are slightly peculiar. They start from the lens’ periphery and make their way towards the center

How are cataracts treated?

Cataracts can only be treated with cataract surgery. They cannot be treated with medication or eyedrops. Despite some advertising claims to the contrary, cataracts cannot be broken up or dissolved using any kind of solution. Surgical intervention is required.

How is cataract surgery performed?

Your ophthalmologist makes an incision in your cornea and uses ultrasound technology to break up the cataract. Because the cataract is actually the age related change in the lens there is no way to remove the cataract without removing the lens as well. Once it has been broken up into small pieces, your surgeon removes the pieces of your old lens via aspiration. Afterwards, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted into the eye where it unfolds and assists with your future vision.

How long does cataract surgery take?

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can be in and out of your ophthalmologist’s office on the same day. While the operation itself only takes about 10-20 minutes, you will likely stay there for an hour or so to recover.

At OCLI you are guaranteed a staff that is not only highly trained but dedicated to their patients as well. Our commitment is to ensuring optimal patient outcomes and keeping individuals informed at every stage of their care, whether it’s for a routine eye exam or for an operation like cataract surgery. We look forward to meeting you. We have locations in East Meadow, East Setauket, Garden City, Lynbrook, Manhasset, Massapequa, Mineola, Plainview, Port Jefferson, Rockville Centre and Valley Stream.

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