The lens of the eye is responsible for focusing light onto the retina. When this lens becomes cloudy, it is called a cataract. The most common form is age-related cataract usually starting after the age of 50. Other causes of cataract include eye injuries, certain diseases such as diabetes and genetic conditions, medications such as steroids, ultraviolet light, and smoking.
A cataract is usually mild at first and has little effect on vision, but as it grows and becomes more cloudy, you may find that performing normal tasks such as reading and driving become more difficult.
Symptoms of a cataract include blurred vision, faded colors, poor night vision, sensitivity to light and glare especially while driving at night, and frequent changes in your glasses prescription.
There are no medications or exercises that will cause cataracts to disappear. When they begin to interfere with daily activities, cataracts can be treated surgically. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most frequently performed surgeries in the United States, with nearly 3 million surgeries performed each year.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically takes 30 minutes. Your surgeon will remove your cloudy cataract, and replace it with a clear intra-ocular lens (IOL). You may resume most daily activities and return to work within a day or two, and the surgery is fully healed within a few weeks. Occasionally, a film can grow behind the IOL after cataract surgery, and this is treated in the office with a laser procedure.
There are new intra-ocular lens (IOL) options for patients having cataract surgery. Near-sightedness and far-sightedness can be reduced or even eliminated at the time of surgery with the IOL that is implanted in the eye. This can provide good distance vision after surgery without glasses or with a minimal prescription, although you will still need reading glasses or bifocals for near vision.
For patients with astigmatism, a Toric IOL can be implanted to correct the astigmatism at the time of surgery, thereby providing improved distance vision without glasses for these patients.
For patients who would like to have both distance and near vision without glasses after surgery, the new ReSTOR IOL may be a good option.
Your ophthalmologist at Brightbill/Ericson Eye Associates New Vision Laser Center will discuss all of your options with you and help you to make the best choice for your visual needs.
Please contact us for a consultation about treatment for cataract.