Cataracts are prevalent among seniors and aging adults, but professionals can appropriately treat them.
You’re at the right place if you experience this condition or worry about getting it in the future. Read on about this common condition, the risks associated with it, and what specialists can do to help you.
What Is A Cataract?
A cataract is a condition that affects eye lenses. It produces a milky clouding over the lenses that impairs vision. There are a few different types of cataracts, but they all share similar characteristics. Regardless of type, a trained opthalmologist can correct cataracts. However, the longer they stay, the worse they may become.
What Are the Causes of Cataracts?
Eye lenses comprise water and proteins. Healthier or younger eye lenses are clearer and cleaner, allowing more light to reflect and better vision. Unfortunately, the water and protein deteriorate over time. The deterioration enables the proteins to build up an unhealthy amount.
Those with this condition will start noticing it by its cloudy appearance, and they’ll begin having a more challenging time seeing it.
What Are Some Common Cataract Risk Factors?
Though the condition can be caused by natural wearing over time, some factors increase the chances in certain people. Some common factors are:
- Genes: If your family has a generational history of having this condition, you may have a higher chance of getting it.
- Aging: Older adults have an increased chance of getting cataracts. Once you reach over age 60, your chances increase more.
- Other Health Conditions: Cataracts have been linked to diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other medical conditions.
- Medications: If you use certain medications or have used them in the past, you may be more likely to develop cataracts.
- Injury: Trauma and physical injury in, on or around the eye—and eye surgery—can also boost the chances of this condition.
- Other Factors to Consider: Steroid medications, smoking and overexposure to UV rays have been linked to cataracts.
What Happens if I Don’t Get Treatment?
Good news: Cataracts are treatable. However, if you wait too long, the condition will only worsen. As your cataracts get more severe, so may your treatments. Ultimately, the expected outcomes of an untreated cataract include:
- Partially or significantly reduced vision.
- Complete and permanent blindness.
- Inability to see when driving, especially at night.
- Reduced ability to see colors.
- Streaking, glaring, or pain and sensitivity towards light.
How Can I Prevent Cataracts?
If you’re worried about your chances of getting cataracts, there are preventative measures you can take. Consider doing the following to reduce your risks:
- If you smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products, try quitting or reducing how much you do.
- Wear protective gear such as hats and sunglasses outside during bright and sunny days.
- Include or increase health and nutrition in your diet with fruits and vegetables.
- Schedule and attend regular exams with your eye care specialist.
What Are Some Helpful Cataract Treatments?
Cataracts range from minor to severe. Though cataracts affect all who have them, some people experience fewer negative impacts than others. For some, wearing prescription or specialized glasses is all that’s needed to go about daily life.
However, the condition often worsens with time. If your situation becomes unbearable, you may need corrective eye surgery.
What Is A Cataract Surgery?
Corrective eye surgery for cataracts is a standard procedure that many people undergo yearly. The process entails repairing or restoring the afflicted eye’s vision by removing the cloud affecting its lens.
Do I Need Cataract Surgery?
There are a few factors to consider. Though this condition does not go away on its own, a corrective eye procedure isn’t necessary for all individuals. However, if you experience the following symptoms, we recommend considering a corrective eye procedure:
- Your condition is negatively affecting your routine and daily activities.
- The condition is causing hazardous or harmful situations, such as unsafe driving.
- Another underlying medical issue is causing your cataracts.
- You’re generally dissatisfied with your vision’s quality.
- You’re partially blind or headed towards complete blindness.
- You’re dissatisfied with your eye’s appearance.
Should I Get A Professional Opinion?
Yes. Schedule routine check-ups and consult with your doctor about your options.
Who is A Cataract Surgery Professional?
Ophthalmologists are medical eye specialists qualified to perform your corrective eye surgery.
What is Pre-Cataract Surgery Like?
Before your procedure, your ophthalmologists will perform the following:
- Evaluate your eye and determine the proper focus power.
- Ask about your medical history and current and past medications.
- Recommend eyedrops and products to minimize swelling and other side effects.
- You may be required to fast during the hours leading up to your procedure.
- Your specialist may recommend ceasing specific medications for a couple of days.
What is Mid-Cataract Surgery Like?
Cataract removal is for outpatients, meaning you can go home on the same day. A standard procedure takes less than 30 minutes to complete. However, we recommend asking someone to give you a ride to and from your procedure to ensure your safety. Here’s what you can expect from your procedure:
- Anesthesia: Your specialists will apply a numbing agent to your eye through droplets or injections. You can also request medications to help you calm down. Blurred light and movement will be visible, but you won’t see the actual procedure happening.
- Removal: The specialists will assess your eye through a microscope, then they’ll make small, painless incisions to get to your lens. Then, your specialists will break up and take out your lens with powerful yet gentle ultrasound waves.
- Replacement: Your specialists will put in a new lens after your removal is complete.
What is Post-Cataract Surgery Like?
You’ll most likely get to go home less than 30 minutes after replacement. Your specialists will send you home wearing an eye shield or eye patch. Here are a few essential things to do post-procedure:
- Arrange a ride. Don’t drive on your own.
- Wear your eye shield while sleeping for a while.
- Take doctor-prescribed eyedrops for a few weeks.
- Enjoy your new and improved sight.