A Beginner’s Guide To Cataracts

It’s a film right?!

We’ve all heard of cataracts at one point in our lives. What is this condition? Is it a film growing in your eyes and will it cause blindness? We will get to these answers and more in our topic today.

In order to talk about cataracts, we have to talk about the lens. Nearly every person is born with a clear lens in their eyes. This is very similar to a brand new window in a house. The lens allows light to pass through and reach the back of the eye, providing a clear image. Now what happens when that lens is no longer clear and becomes dirty (imagine a 50 year old window)? Well, the amount of light that can pass through is decreased which leads to a blurred image.

Cataract is essentially this, the clouding of your lens. Most commonly, we see cataracts caused by age-related issues. Proteins and tissues start to break down in your 40s but vision is typically not affected until after your 60s. We will list some of the causes and symptoms below!

Causes of Cataracts and the Symptoms

Non age-rated causes of cataracts:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Trauma
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Medications
  • Past surgeries

Visual symptoms of cataracts:

  • Increased difficulty at night
  • Minimal improvement with corrective lenses
  • Difficulty at distance (sometimes near)
  • Ghosting and doubling of images

Now that you know more about cataracts, how do you prevent it?

Funny enough, there is no way to prevent cataracts due to aging. However, you can delay progression by following the following tips.

Routine Exam: The doctor will examine your lens and eye health. Early detection is key and routinely checking your eye health can help detect changes in vision.

Sunglasses: UV light has been shown to increase progression of cataract formation. Obtaining sunglasses that are UV400 can block almost 100% of UV rays. A polarized lens can also help. Just make sure to get a quality lens that can last!

Nutrition: Staying healthy is not only good for the eyes, but also the body. Fruits and vegetables are your best friends if you are looking for vitamins and antioxidants.

Avoid smoking: Smoking has been linked to earlier cataract progression. Contact your local support group or family if you are struggling.

How do I remove a cataract?

There is no magic cure for cataracts. Surgery is the only way to remove an aging or damaged lens. This is also one of the most common eye surgeries performed in the world with nearly 10 million procedures done in a year. The procedure is minimally invasive and nearly painless. Some might report irritation and discomfort that goes away in the following weeks. Your local surgeon and eye doctor will be on top of things to ensure the healing process is smooth. Success rate is extremely high for surgery (90% mark in the US)! Contact your local eye doctor for more details.

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