A cataract forms when the normally clear lens of the eye hardens and becomes cloudy, leading to blurred vision or problems with glare from lights or the sun.
Like the lens of a camera, the eye’s lens focuses to keep the images of both close and distant objects clear. Over time, the lens becomes less transparent; studies suggest accumulated exposure to ultraviolet light causes the natural lens to cloud. Most often, this clouding takes place slowly as proteins within the lens degenerate.
In most cases, cataracts are the result of the normal aging process. Individuals over 65 often have cataracts, but they may not have progressed to the point that they affect vision. Lifestyle choices and common health conditions, such as diabetes, may accelerate cataract development. Nutrition may play at least a limited role. Heavy salt consumption, for example, appears to increase the risk of significant cataract development. Some research suggests that antioxidant vitamins, like vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamins C and E, and selenium, may slow cataract development. All of these are available in common multivitamin formulas. Beyond that, the use of nutritional supplements carries its own risks; you should consult your physician before adding them to your diet.
The eye’s lens is responsible for helping to focus light on the retina in the back of the eye. Cataracts occur when proteins within the lens begin to cluster together, causing the lens to cloud. If the lens is cloudy, it cannot properly focus the image on the retina. This makes vision blurry and colors indistinct. When your lifestyle is threatened by cataracts, it is time to consult our doctor about your options.
Cataracts do NOT generally cause pain, discomfort, redness, discharge, or sudden, alarming vision changes that would lead you to seek immediate help. The changes caused by cataracts generally develop so slowly that you won’t notice them until they are serious enough to affect normal lifestyles. Ask yourself these questions:
All of these are difficulties commonly associated with cataracts. Only a professional can determine if cataracts are the cause of your symptoms. If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to call one of our doctors for an evaluation.
Note: Even if you think you do not have cataracts, you should seek medical attention if you are having troublesome eye symptoms.
Medicare now permits cataract patients to select either a standard monofocal lens or advanced technology replacement lenses. This Medicare regulation allows patients to pay privately for the portion of the charges for the implantation of an advanced multifocal replacement lens and related technical services that exceeds the benefit for a standard replacement lens. Ask our doctors about advanced replacement lens implants that may reduce your dependence on reading glasses and bifocals after cataract surgery.