A cataract is the clouding of your eye’s lens. The lens is usually clear to allow light to pass through—this is how we perceive light in order to see. When the lens begins to become cloudy in spots, it can block out light completely. Cataracts are formed through the buildup of protein. They can be small and harmless at first, and can develop larger and restrict more light, thus reducing your vision.
Cataracts are a normal development with age. They are actually very common. However, they can cause vision complications, so you want to catch them early. If you begin noticing any cloudiness in your vision, unexplained sensitivity, or begin having noticeable trouble driving with glare or at night – it’s time to see your eye care professional. If you have diabetes you should maintain a regular relationship with your eye doctor, and be very wary of “smudgy” vision or any spots or dots you see consistently.
If you notice anything, talk to a medical professional. But overall, there’s no need to panic. People have cataract surgeries every day with no prolonged complications to their vision. Cataracts form for multiple reasons and are classified into several categories.
Cataracts develop over time, so the older you are, the more likely you are to encounter one. The most commonly occurring cataract is called a Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract. These form in the nucleus of your eye, and may immediately improve your nearsighted, or reading sight. After this “second-sight” or period of improved close vision, the cataract may harden, turn yellow, and inhibit your vision.
These are cataracts you are born with, or that form in infancy. They can be purely genetic, or passed down from the parent during pregnancy from infection. If the child’s vision is blocked by one, a doctor should remove it promptly. This will help to ensure the eye “learns to see” as the child grows. There is a particular genetic cataract called Lamellar or Zonular cataracts. In these white dots form in the field of vision, that may form a “Y” shape as they progress. Typically these cataracts form in both eyes.
These are cataracts that form as a result of injury. They can begin to form immediately or shortly after the trauma. If you have any physical damage to your eyes, be sure to monitor them for signs and symptoms of cataract development afterwards.
These form as a complication of other issues in your body. Diabetics get a particular fast-forming cataract called a snowflake cataract. Cataracts are also associated with tobacco use, sun exposure, radiation, diuretics, and steroid use. Consult with both your medical doctor and your eye care professional about what exposures or secondary conditions would make you susceptible to cataracts.
Cataracts are identified using several eye tests. Usually either a retinal exam, visual acuity test, or a “slit-lamp” exam will allow your doctor to identify them. If you discover a cataract early, and the disturbance is not hindering your vision significantly, you may be able to avoid surgery. Your doctor may make some lifestyle change recommendations, like reading with a brighter lamp. They may also increase your vision prescription.
If the cataract needs to be removed, as of now surgery is the only option. No fears though, cataract surgery is very common. If your nuclear cataract has progressed to a stage where it is hard and brown, there may be slightly more concern about the surgery. At this progression the cataract is harder, and slightly more dangerous to remove. Talk through any concerns with your eye surgeon, odds are they have seen it all and made it through with no problems.
As of now there’s no ironclad way to prevent cataracts. Eat healthy, consume vitamins and minerals that are supportive of your eye and eye tissue. Try to wear sunglasses anytime you are going to be under the sun for a while. Cataracts are most common with age, so make sure you maintain a regular eye care routine, and always attend your scheduled eye exams.
If you notice any changes in your vision or visual acuity, like difficulty driving at night, do not hesitate to reach out to us. At CustomEyes, a dedicated optician and optical health professional can help diagnose and treat any eye problems you may have. Schedule an appointment today!
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