Typically caused by age, when the protein in the eye’s natural lens start to clump together and cloud, a cataract blocks the passage of light to the retina, which can cause vision problems. A cataract starts small and slowly grows over time.
“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.”
Types of Cataracts
- Subcapsular Cataracts: Begins at the back of the lens. Most often seen in people with diabetes, high farsightedness, retinitis pigmentosa, or those taking high doses of steroids.
- Nuclear Cataracts: Forms in the center, or nucleus, of the lens. Nuclear cataracts are a part of the natural aging process.
- Cortical Cataracts: Forms in the lens cortex, gradually extending its spokes to the center of the lens. Most often seen in diabetics.
Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts
- Blurred or blurry vision
- Double vision
- Colors may seem faded
- Difficulty seeing during the day because of glare
- Difficulty driving at night, also because of glare
- Frequent changes in eyeglasses prescription
- Vision problems begin to affect daily activities
If you notice any of the above signs and symptoms of cataracts, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor – optometrist or ophthalmologist – as soon as possible. Call your eye doctor right away is you have:
- Severe eye pain
- Sudden changes in your vision, such as loss of vision.
Your eye doctor will be able to diagnose your cataracts through a simple physical exam and by asking questions about your symptoms and past health.
- Watchful Waiting: Also known as the wait-and-see approach, watchful waiting is safe and completely appropriate in most cases of adult cataracts. Cataracts in children, meanwhile, should be dealt with right away.
- Cataract Surgery: For most adults, cataract surgery is only needed when vision loss begins to affect quality of life. 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.
Speak with your eye doctor to determine the best course of action in the treatment of your cataracts.
If you have any questions about Cataract Diagnosis and Treatment or wish to schedule an appointment with the Anne Arundel Eye Center, please contact board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, consultative optometrists Dr. Nathan Frank and Dr. Corinne Casey, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010 or visiting AnneArundelEyeCenter.com today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube as well!
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.