With Cataract Awareness Month coming to a close, we wanted to take a moment to answer the question that is really on everyone’s mind – Will I Develop Cataracts? The answer: probably. Cataracts are the most common eye disorder in North America, and are a natural part of the aging process.
“We should all be so lucky to develop cataracts in our lifetime, as this would mean we have lived a long and healthy life,” says board certified ophthalmologist Samuel Boles, M.D.
As we grow older, proteins begin to build up in the lens, forming protein clumps, which can obscure normal vision. These clumps, or deposits, prevent light from passing clearly through the lens, causing images to appear cloudy or blurry, especially at night.
“I like to compare it to the clear plastic window in the back of a convertible car,” adds Dr. Boles, Medical Director of the Anne Arundel Eye Center in Annapolis, Maryland. “After years of exposure to sun and weather, the plastic becomes yellow and cloudy.”
Nearly half of all adults will develop cataracts by age 80. The good news: cataracts are also very treatable. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed operation in the United States and, with a 98% success rate, also has the highest success rate of any surgery practiced today.
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.
Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts
Early signs and symptoms of cataracts include: blurry sight, double vision, halos, glare – the eyes becomes dazzled by bright light, difficulty driving at night, and frequently changing your glasses prescriptions. A temporary improvement in near vision, sometimes called “second sight” may also occur. 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.
The Anne Arundel Eye Center, led by board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and cataracts. Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, AAEC’s state-of-the-art treatment center is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
Cataract surgery is most often recommended only when the cataract has begun to affect daily activity: reading, driving, working, etc. This surgery involves removing the clouded lens and, in most cases, replacing it with a clear, intraocular lens implant (IOL). Your eye doctor will make a small incision on the side of your cornea and use ultrasound vibrations to break the natural lens into small pieces. These fragments are removed and replaced with an IOL.
Cataract surgery is a painless outpatient procedure and recovery is quick and easy. In fact, most patients can resume their normal, everyday function in very little time and can even drive a few days after surgery.
Dr. Boles utilizes the LenSx® Laser, the most technologically advanced option for cataract patients today, to create a cataract surgery that’s 100% unique to each patient.
“The LenSx Laser offers significant improvement of precision, safety, and accuracy for even better results and I recommend this as an option for all of my patients,” says Dr. Boles.
Click Here to see the difference between traditional surgery and laser assisted cataract surgery.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Nicole Kershner, Dr. Kathryn Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010. AAEC is staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals who will help guide you on your healing journey.