Counteract Cataracts with Simple Surgery
A common senior health concern, cataracts refer to a clouding that develops on the clear lens of the eye, obstructing vision and worsening over time. While the impaired vision caused by cataracts can be frightening, this condition is easily resolved with a simple surgical procedure.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts are usually associated with changes to the makeup of the eye that occurs with age. However, development of cataracts can also be triggered by injury or by genetic disorders, other eye conditions, health problems like diabetes, and long term use of steroids. Cataracts develop when tissues within the lens of the eye clump together, causing cloudy areas that obstruct vision (especially at night or when driving or reading). In addition to the risk factors mentioned above, cataracts are more common among those who drink alcohol, have experienced excessive sun exposure to the eyes or exposure to radiation, have a family history of cataracts, have high blood pressure, or are obese.
Symptoms of Cataracts
If you have cataracts, you may begin to notice that your vision is blurred or appears dim, especially at night. You may also experience sensitivity to light exposure, worsening eyeglass or contact prescription, double vision, appearance of “halos” around lights, and colors that appear faded or yellowed. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your eye doctor, who can diagnose cataracts with a simple exam.
How Cataracts Are Treated
In most people, cataracts develop slowly and don’t affect vision right away. Once you begin to have difficulty seeing, you will have to have the cataracts surgically removed. In this procedure, your doctor will remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear artificial one, which will remain a permanent part of your eye. This is an outpatient procedure that is done under local anesthesia. Complications are rare, and you will usually be completely healed within eight weeks. Because most people develop cataracts in both eyes simultaneously, your doctor will schedule the second surgery once your first eye has completely healed.
While cataracts can impact your quality of life, they usually don’t cause additional complications and are easily treated. If you notice any unwanted changes in your vision, see your doctor immediately.