Clearing Up Cataract Questions

If you have hit your 50’s, you cannot escape one topic of conversation…. CATARACTS.  Either it is someone being diagnosed, or their parents.

What exactly is this and why all of a sudden?  The all of a sudden part is an easy answer, it is age related.

They form as you age.  Cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans. As our population ages, more than 30 million Americans are expected to have cataracts by the year 2020.

Typically for those over 40, but on occasion earlier, vision becomes gradually blurry or cloudy.  This is a common symptom by 60, as it is caused by a protein buildup in the lens of your eye, which lies behind the iris and the pupil.

In addition to cloudy vision, you may slowly become nearsighted, colors may look different, night driving becomes difficult, you may experience glare or double vision, see halos around lights, and your normal glasses and lenses may not be working as well. If you experience any of these symptoms, a visit to Beyer Eye should be scheduled asap as cataracts is the principal cause of blindness in the world.

There are different types of cataracts. They include:

  • Age-related.
  • Congenital can form in childhood or caused by infection, injury, or poor development in utero.
  • Secondary is a result of other medical conditions, such as diabetes, taking medicines such as corticosteroids or diuretics, being around toxic substances, ultraviolet light, or radiation.
  • Traumatic caused by injury.

They are classified into 3 groups:

subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens, effecting people with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medications.

nuclear cataract forms deep in the central zone of the lens and are associated with aging.

cortical cataracts are characterized by white, wedge-like opacities that begin in the edge of the lens and work their way to the center.

To reduce your risk of getting cataracts, avoid smoking, heavy drinking, ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources, and obesity. Diabetes, hypertension, prolonged use of corticosteroids and statins, hormone replacement therapy and injury or previous eye surgery also increases your risk as well as a family history.

The good news is, cataracts are easy to diagnose, and the fix is also pretty easy. A quick visit to Dr. Beyer (William, Eric, or Mark) in any of their 3 convenient locations will give them a clear insight to your vision problem.

Cataracts are diagnosed during a comprehensive eye examination.  Many factors are considered when making the decision to perform cataract surgery. These factors include Medical History, specifically any medications you are currently taking, and whether you have any allergies, prior eye disease, and previous surgeries.

Drs. Beyer will discuss that cataract surgery is very successful in restoring vision. In fact, it is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States. More than 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year, with 9 out of 10 people regaining very good vision, somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40. During this same day surgery, your surgeon will remove your clouded lens, and in most cases replace it with a clear, intraocular lens (IOL). They will go over your choices in IOLs. Choosing a cataract lens depends on many personal factors, including the activities do you do during the day and which ones would you like to do without glasses if possible.

Have questions?  Call us for answers!


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