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Cataracts: What they are, warning signs, and how to treat them.

From reading and driving to enjoying the beauty of nature, our eyes allow us to see and appreciate the world in all its detail and color. However, as we age, our vision can start to change, and it can be difficult to understand what is going on and what needs to be done. That's why it's so important to see an eye care professional who can help us understand what is happening with our eyes and guide us through any preventive or corrective measures that may be needed.

Whether it's a simple change in glasses prescription or a more complex issue, such as cataracts, having an eye care professional on your side can help ensure that you have the best possible vision.


elderly couple smiling

Cataracts: A common eye condition

Cataracts are a common eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite its prevalence, many people are not fully aware of what cataracts are, how they develop, and what can be done to treat them. Let’s explore cataracts in depth, from their causes to the warning signs and from diagnosis to treatment options.

 

What are cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye, which can cause vision problems. The lens is located behind the iris and the pupil and is responsible for focusing light onto the retina, which in turn sends visual signals to the brain. A cataract can cause the lens to become cloudy, causing vision to become blurry and hazy.


What causes cataracts?

Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process– most people will develop them eventually. However, there are other factors that can increase the risk of developing cataracts, such as:

  • Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light

  • Smoking

  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes

  • Long-term use of certain medications, such as steroids

  • Previous eye injury or surgery

  • Family history of cataracts


medical illustration of healthy eye and eye with cataract

Early warning signs of cataracts

Cataracts can develop slowly over time, and the early warning signs may not be noticeable at first. However, as the cataract progresses, the following symptoms may become more pronounced:


  • Blurry or hazy vision

  • Increased sensitivity to glare and bright lights

  • Double vision in one eye

  • Fading or yellowing of colors

  • Difficulty seeing at night

  • Frequent changes in prescription glasses or contact lenses

Diagnosis and treatment options

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is important to schedule an eye exam with an eye care professional. Your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for the presence of cataracts and any other vision problems. If a cataract is detected, your eye doctor will discuss your treatment options with you, which may include:


Glasses or contact lenses: In the early stages of cataract development, glasses or contact lenses may be all that is needed to improve your vision.


Surgery: If your cataracts are affecting your vision to the point where it is impacting your daily life, surgery may be recommended. Cataract surgery is a common and safe procedure that involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). There are different types of IOLs available, and your eye doctor will discuss the best option for you based on your individual needs and lifestyle.


Medications: There are currently no medications that have been proven to prevent or treat cataracts. However, there are some studies that suggest certain vitamins and antioxidants may help slow down the progression of cataracts.


closeup of elderly woman's blue eye

Cataracts may be a common condition that can cause vision problems as we age, but understanding the warning signs and treatment options allows us to take steps to maintain good eye health and vision.

If you experience any symptoms of cataracts or have any concerns about your vision, be sure to schedule an eye exam with us at Rivertown Eye Care. With the right care and attention, it is possible to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear for years to come.




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