Cataracts form when, as we age. our eyes' lens becomes thicker and less flexible, causing eye tissue to break down and cloud the lenses. As light enters the eye, the lens produces images onto the retina at the back of the eye. As more eye tissue breaks down, the cloudiness (cataract) scatters the light entering the lens, and the images become less sharp, thus blurring vision.
Cataracts generally occur in both eyes at a similar but not identical rate, but they may affect only one eye in some cases. Because cataracts often develop at a slightly different pace, one eye may require cataract surgery before the procedure is necessary on the other eye. Typically, cataract surgeries for both eyes are not performed simultaneously but are scheduled a few weeks apart, correcting the more affected eye first.
If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be showing early signs of cataracts, or have a cataract already.
Cataract symptoms often present so slowly that they go unnoticed for a time. During the early onset of a cataract, vision is not significantly affected. Foggy or blurred vision is the symptom most associated with cataracts; other signs that may signal cataract formation include:
By the age of 80, most Americans will have developed cataracts, which occur when your human lens becomes clouded to such an extent that it affects your vision and quality of life. This condition typically occurs with age, but can also result from trauma, disease, and use of certain medications.
Typically, we find that a key indicator of cataract development is the introduction of "night halos" or glares in vision. That, coupled with the above signs (difficulty driving and reading or colors appearing less sharp/vivid) may be warning signs of a cataract.
However, the BEST way to know if you have or are developing a cataract is by scheduling a consultation with one of our eye doctors. There, a doctor will run tests to properly assess your vision and whether or not cataract surgery is right for you.
Yes! For those who have already developed a formal cataract, typically found in patients ages 60 and above, we recommend modern cataract surgery (see next question).
Cataract surgery is a simple procedure with an excellent success record. The clouded natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). It is done on an outpatient basis with a topical anesthetic that will make it a painless procedure. One eye is done at a time, with a short healing period in between.After making a very small incision outside your field of vision, your eye surgeon will insert a tiny probe and use ultrasound to break up the clouded natural lens. With suction, the pieces are easily removed, and through the same incision, the IOL is inserted and positioned correctly. You may have a protective shield to wear during sleep for about a week, and your eye surgeon will prescribe eye drops to be used several times each day for several weeks. For best results, it is very important that you follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions exactly.
Yes. Although aging is the prime culprit in most cataract cases, there are other causes of cataracts, such as: