What is the number one cause of vision loss in the United States and blindness globally? The answer is cataracts. This eye condition can affect people of all ages due to a number of causes. In some rare cases, cataracts can be present from birth in one or both of an infant’s eyes. But did you know more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older are affected by cataracts?

Despite how common this condition is, you might be wondering, “What is a cataract?” Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog, we will tell you everything you should know about cataracts such as:

  • Typical symptoms
  • Common causes
  • What causes cataracts to develop
  • How they can be treated
  • And much more

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a build-up of protein in your eye’s lens that causes it to become cloudy. They often form as a byproduct of our bodies’ natural aging process. As you age, your optical lenses will gradually thicken, which scatters or blocks light from passing through. In turn, this often leads to blurred vision which can make completing otherwise simple daily activities a hassle. Ultimately, this condition can take a toll on your quality of life.

But besides aging, there are a variety of reasons cataracts may develop such as:

  • Penetrating or blunt eye trauma
  • Habits like smoking or heavy drinking
  • Health conditions such as diabetes
  • Medical procedures or medications
  • Excessive exposure to UV light rays
  • Past eye surgeries (i.e. glaucoma surgery)
  • Other ocular conditions

A cataract may form as a result of something compromising or damaging the fibers in your ocular lens. When you first start developing a cataract, it may only affect a small portion of your lens, making you unaware of the vision loss that you are incurring. While the cataract increases in size, your vision impairment will continue to worsen. As the result, you may begin to experience a wide variety of symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

Some of the most common signs that one may have cataracts include:

  • A blurring of vision
  • Difficulty seeing clearly at short or long distances
  • Glare or halos around lights
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Double vision in one of your eyes
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
  • Difficulty in reading in low light
  • Declining night vision
  • Fading or yellowing of colors

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or other changes in your vision, please schedule an appointment with our team right away.

What Will Happen If a Cataract is Left Untreated?

If left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness. So it is imperative that you come in for a consultation with an eye doctor as soon as possible. Typically, cataracts develop gradually over time. But some cataracts are more aggressive which means they can grow faster and get worse more quickly.

Sadly, cataracts are not preventable as a whole. But to decrease your risk, you can take precautions such as:

  • Eating nutrient-rich foods like salmon, spinach, and walnuts
  • Exercising daily
  • Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and PPE in the workplace
  • Quitting smoking

Additionally, our eye doctors can detect early signs of cataracts and other eye conditions, so it’s a good idea to have your regular eye exams. If they find that you do in fact have cataracts, they can create a treatment plan that’s tailor-made for your individual case.

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Vistar Eye Center surgeons are equipped with advanced technology for treating cataracts. Cataract surgery is a brief procedure where the cloudy natural lens (the cataract) is replaced with a new replacement lens, called an intraocular lens (OIL). There are numerous potential variations of surgery, including a range of IOL options which in many cases can reduce or even eliminate your need for glasses!

In many cases, it may be helpful to utilize our CATALYS™ 3D imaging and femtosecond laser system to assist and improve the precision of your surgery. Your surgeon will work with you to identify your goals for vision and help you create a customized surgical plan using the most advanced technology available in eye surgery!

Our staff works hard to create a warm atmosphere where patients can truly feel at ease, and will happily welcome you and address any concerns you may have. You’ll always be in the loop with us!

Have Any Further Questions? Reach Out Anytime.

As always, if you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our staff here at Vistar Eye Center would be glad to answer any of your questions or help you set up a consultation for cataract treatment with one of our wonderful doctors. Give us a call today!