A cataract is an eye condition that results in the clouding of the eye’s clear lens. Studies show that cataracts are the biggest reason for blindness in the United States of America. They are a normal occurrence as one grows old. Many people you know will develop cataracts at some point in their lives. But when cataracts develop, it is dependent on your family history, lifestyle, and age.
Cataracts normally develop slowly. It may be difficult to establish that you have a cataract due to the pace of their development. You may only know you have them once:
You have trouble seeing with contact lenses or prescription glasses
You experience double vision in the affected eye
You have problems with glare during the day and at night, especially when driving
Your vision is foggy, blurry, and cloudy
You have light sensitivity
To establish whether you have a cataract, your doctor will review both your symptoms and medical history. They will also perform an eye examination and conduct various tests. They will most likely perform a visual acuity test. This test will examine how well you can read by using an eye chart. You will do this with one eye closed.
Your doctor will also conduct a slit-lamp exam on you. This will show them what structures the front of your eye has through magnification. Medically, a microscope is also a slit lamp because the intense line of light it uses can illuminate your eye’s lens, iris, cornea, and even the space that the cornea and iris have between them. By viewing these small structures, your eye doctor can detect anything abnormal.
The eye doctor may also perform a retinal examination. They will dilate your pupils by putting drops in your eyes. This will make examining your retina easy. They can also perform applanation tonometry to measure the fluid pressure in your affected eye.
Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts. However, you may not need surgery right away. If the doctor catches the problem at an early stage, new prescription glasses may help manage the problem. Nevertheless, this may only be a temporary solution for better vision for a short while.
During surgery, your surgeon will remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial one. The intraocular lens replacement will remain a permanent part of your corrected eye.
Unfortunately, cataracts are not preventable. You can, however, reduce your chances of developing them by limiting risk factors such as:
Protecting your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat
Limiting steroid-based medication
Maintaining low blood pressure
Managing diabetes for diabetic people
Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes
Cataracts cannot go back on the eye after undergoing cataract surgery. The doctor will remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial one. But in some rare cases, the natural capsule left behind may start clouding just like the cataract that the doctor removed.
For more on cataracts prevention, contact Studio Optix at our office in New York, New York. You can call (212) 765-4444 today to schedule an appointment.