As we age, it is common for eyesight to deteriorate. According to the American Optometric Association, adults over 40 frequently notice that they begin having problems seeing clearly while reading or working close up or with small objects. While these troubles are normal and can be treated with glasses, sometimes more serious problems arise.
What are cataracts?
More than 22 million Americans over 40 suffer from some form of cataracts. Cataracts are defined as a slow clouding of the clear lens of the eye that is found behind the iris and pupil. This lens’ prime function is to focus the light that passes through the eye. When it becomes clouded, it causes the images absorbed by the retina to be less sharp or clear than normal. This causes clouded or foggy vision, much like looking through a frosty window.
How do I know if I am suffering from cataracts?
Cataract patients’ main complaint is foggy or blurred vision. However, there are many other symptoms, including:
- Prescriptions for contacts or glasses changing frequently
- Double vision in one eye
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Fading of colors
- Sensitivity to light
- Seeing “halos” around lights at night, commonly headlights while driving
What is the treatment for cataracts?
Cataract surgery is a relatively simple procedure, usually performed under an outpatient status, meaning that no hospital stay is required. It is generally safe, and post-surgery discomfort only lasts a few days, though the actual healing time can be up to eight weeks. Local anesthetic is used to numb the area around the eye, and an artificial lens is used to replace the natural clouded lens in the eye. Sometimes, if an artificial lens cannot be used, glasses or contacts can be used to correct the patient’s vision once the clouded lens is removed. If cataracts need to be removed from both eyes, two separate surgeries are needed.
How can I prevent cataracts from forming?
Having regular eye exams is the most important factor in cataract prevention. This way, optometrists can spot the problem early, and council the patient in ways to keep the cataract from worsening. Smoking, alcohol abuse and obesity can also increase the risk of cataracts. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables helps in decreasing risk of many illnesses, including cataracts.
An eye examination should be scheduled if you notice any changes in your vision. Advanced Vision Specialists in Chicago, IL can help you spot cataracts early, and treat advanced cases with compassionate and professional care.