As we age, our eyes undergo natural wear and tear, resulting in the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. This clouding is known as cataracts. This is a normal part of the aging process. If we live long enough, we will all develop cataracts at some point in our lives.
“I like to compare it to the clear plastic window in the back of a convertible car,” said board certified ophthalmologist Samuel Boles, M.D. “After years of exposure to sun and weather, the plastic becomes yellow and cloudy.”
Interesting Facts about Cataracts
- Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among adults 55 and older.
- Nearly half of all adults will develop cataracts by age 80.
- Acquired cataracts account for over 99% of all cataracts. Congenital cataracts account for less than 1%.
- Cataracts surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States.
Types of Cataracts
- Subcapsular Cataracts: This type of cataract begins at the back of the lens.
- Nuclear Cataracts: This type of cataract forms in the nucleus, the center of the lens, and develops due to natural aging changes.
- Cortical Cataracts: This type of cataract forms in the lens cortex and gradually extends its spokes from the outside of the lens to the center.
The type of cataract you have will affect exactly which signs and symptoms you experience and how soon they will occur. Still, there is no need to worry; cataracts are very treatable and can be detected long before the lens becomes cloudy.
Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts
- Blurry sight, and occasionally, double vision
- ‘Halos’ — the eyes become dazzled by bright light, making night driving difficult
- Colors may become faded
- Eyeglasses prescription changes frequently
If you feel you may be experiencing any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Any sudden change in your vision is a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical attention from your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
If the symptoms of cataracts persist and become bothersome, surgery is an excellent option for most people.
Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and, in most cases, replacing it with a clear, intraocular lens implant (IOL). Cataract surgery is a painless outpatient procedure and has the highest success rate of any surgery practiced today. Most patients can resume their normal, everyday function in very little time and can even drive a few days after surgery.
More Information on Intraocular Lenses (IOL)
Previously, Intraocular lenses (IOL) only allowed for vision at one distance (mono-focal lenses), meaning cataract patients still benefit from glasses after surgery. Newer advanced technology IOLs, however, allow for a much greater range of vision, further decreasing the patient’s dependence on glasses.
Advanced technology lenses, also referred to as Premium IOLs, available include: Multi-focal, Accommodating, and Dual-Optic Accommodating. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, including some out of pocket expenses. To find out which lens makes the most sense for you, consult your eye doctor.
A consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable Ophthalmologist will help guide you through your decision. You may find out that a particular lens suits your needs very well.
To learn more about Cataracts, Intraocular Lenses, and Proper Eye Health, please contact board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, consultative optometrist Dr. Nathan Frank, and the eye care specialists at Anne Arundel Eye Center by calling 410-224-2010 or click here to visit AnneArundelEyeCenter.com.
Located in Annapolis, Maryland, the Anne Arundel Eye Center offers comprehensive specialized ophthalmic exams as well as diagnostic pre and post-surgical eye care. Specializing in glaucoma and cataracts, Dr. Boles has helped restore and preserve thousands of patients’ vision.
Vision problems may be a natural part of aging. Losing your vision doesn’t have to be.
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.