What Are Cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens. This decreases the transmission of light and diminishes our ability to see. The cataract commonly develops due to age and patients may attribute their blurry vision to a need for a stronger pair of glasses. While this may sometimes be true, oftentimes they are experiencing the onset of a cataract. A visit to your ophthalmologist can definitively diagnose this condition.
Below Are Some Common Symptoms That Should Raise Your Suspicion:
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Struggle to read fine print
- Increased lighting requirements
- Increased halos around lights
- Faded or yellowed vision
- Poor night vision
- Doubling of images
- Frequently changing glasses prescription
Who is at risk?
People can develop a cataract due to age (the most common cause), trauma or a metabolic disorder such as diabetes among other reasons. The cataract may develop slowly or progress rapidly over time and this varies by individual. About 60% of patients who have cataracts are 60 years or older. Worldwide, it is the number one cause of preventable blindness. The good news is that cataracts can be treated with surgery allowing patients to fully recover their vision.
Cataract surgery: How is it performed?
Cataract surgery is a lens replacement surgery. The doctor removes your cloudy lens and implants a clear artificial lens implant that allows you to see clearly.
The procedure is quick and painless. It is performed in an outpatient setting and you go home the same day. At the time of surgery, your anesthesiologist will give you some medication to relax you.
To access the cataract, a small incision is made in the cornea, the clear outermost layer of the eye. An ultrasonic probe is then inserted into the eye to break up the lens into tiny pieces and removes it from the eye.
Once the cataract has been removed a clear artificial lens is implanted in the eye. The visual improvement with cataract surgery is rapid and can be experienced within 24 hours of the operation.