Cataracts are a way of life for people as they age. If you notice a cloudiness in your vision, you are most likely developing cataracts. The clouding is in your eye’s natural lens that lies behind the iris and pupil. This eye disease is the leading cause of blindness throughout the world. More people have cataracts across the world than the combination of diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and glaucoma according to PBA, Prevent Blindness America. In fact, 22 million Americans over the age of 40 are experiencing cataracts.
Three Types of Cataracts
Subcapsular: This is a cataract that develops at the back of the lens. People that suffer from diabetes or take a high dose of steroid medicine are at a greater risk of developing subcapsular cataracts.
Nuclear: This type of cataract is often associated with aging and forms deep within the nucleus of the lens.
Cortical: Cortical cataracts appear in the lens cortex (part of the lens surrounding the central nucleus) and often appears as white wedge, working from the periphery of the lens and moves into the center of the lens like a spoke.
Symptoms & Signs
Cataracts begin small and have little effect to a person vision however overtime you will notice that your vision will become a bit hazy and blurred. You may notice that you become more sensitive to light as well. The symptoms that are experienced often vary from person to person as well as on the type of cataract that has developed. An eye exam can give you an official diagnosis.
The lens of your eye acts similar to a camera lens. Light is focused onto the retina which gives you clear vision. It adjusts focus to let things be seen close and far away. The eyes lens is made up of proteins and water. Proteins are arranged in a way that keeps the lens clear and allows light to pass through. As we get older the proteins may get clumped together and cloud the lens. This is a cataract and will continue to grow making it harder and harder to see clearly. It is not exactly clear why the lens changes and form cataracts however some risk factors are:
- Ultraviolet radiation from the sun
- Family history
- Abuse of alcohol
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Extended use of corticosteroid medication
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye surgeries, injuries, and inflammation
There are a number of studies, mostly controversial, show that certain nutrients and nutritional supplements can help reduce the risk of cataracts. Higher intakes of vitamin E, carotenoids lutein, and zeaxanthin from supplements and nutrients in food have shown to decrease the risk of cataracts. Wearing sunglasses that offer 100% blockage of the suns UV rays help to reduce the chances of cataracts. Eye vitamins, a healthy diet, and good nutrition can help in the prevention of cataracts.
As symptoms occur your vision may be improved with new glasses, bifocal, increased lighting, and the use of other visual aids. Surgery is only considered after cataracts have progressed and impair your vision and affect daily happenings. Most people think that bad vision occurs as a normal part of aging but surgery to correct cataracts is fairly simple, pain free, and widely available.
Cataract surgery is successful in restoring vision. 3 million Americans undergo surgery for cataracts each and every year. In fact, 9 out of 10 people regain good eye sight after cataract surgery, between 20/20 and 20/40. Surgeons remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear, plastic intraocular lens, IOL.
It is important to take time to recover from surgery. Don’t plan on driving for a few days and avoid strenuous lifting and activities. It is important not to bend over or put pressure on your eye.
Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to suit your lifestyle and visual needs. As a leader in laser vision correction and cataract surgery, our goal is to help you achieve the best vision possible without glasses or contact lenses. More information can be found online at https://michiganlasik.com.