Recognizing the Early Symptoms of Cataracts
More than 20 million Americans currently have cataracts, and an estimated 6 million have already had cataract surgery. Cataracts are very common for anyone over the age of 40 and can lead to blindness if left untreated.
A cataract is an eye condition caused by the clouding of the crystalline lens. The eye has a natural lens that focuses light on the retina. As the lens matures, it becomes denser and more opaque. This blocks light from passing through the lens.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty distinguishing colors
- Intense glare from lamps or the sun
- Double vision
- Seeing “halos” around lights
These symptoms can directly affect your ability to enjoy routine activities such as exercising, reading, cooking, participating in recreational activities, work, and driving at night. Some people find a short term solution by increasing their eyeglass prescription. However, this temporary solution will not solve the diminishing vision. At some point, you may require cataract surgery to replace your eye’s failing lens with an implant.
Types of Cataracts
There are different classifications of cataracts that can form in your eye’s lens. The primary distinctions that classify the various manifestations of cataracts are origin and location.
- Nuclear Cataracts. These are cataracts affecting the center of the lens. At first, this cataract may cause more nearsightedness, but with time, the lens gradually turns more densely yellow and further clouds your vision.
- Cortical Cataracts. These cataracts affect the edges of the lens. It begins as a white, wedge-shaped opacities. As it slowly progresses, the opacities extend to the center of the eyes affecting the light passing through.
- Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts. These cataracts that affect the back of the lens. They start as a small, opaque area right in the path of light. These types of cataracts tend to progress faster than other types.
- Congenital Cataracts. These are cataracts you are born with. Some people are born with cataracts or develop them during childhood. These cataracts may be genetic or associated with an infection or trauma.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest surgical procedures you can experience. In the United States alone, more than three million cataract surgeries are performed every year, with an overall success rate of 98 percent or higher.
During cataract surgery, micro-incisions are made, and the cataractous lens is removed using ultrasonic energy. An implant is then placed in the eye to replace the natural lens. Your surgeon will pick an implant best suited for your eye. There are advanced implants that correct for astigmatism and presbyopia. Your eye doctor will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for cataract surgery and what implants may be best for you.
If you are experiencing vision changes, please contact Vision Associates today at 419-578-2020 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.