A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It can be compared to a window that is frosted or yellowed. The amount and pattern of cloudiness within the lens can vary. If the cloudiness is not near the center of the lens, you may not be aware that a cataract is present.
There are many misconceptions about cataract.
Cataract is not:
a film over the eye;
caused by overusing the eyes;
spread from one eye to the other;
a cause of irreversible blindness.
Common symptoms of cataract include:
a painless blurring of vision;
glare, or light sensitivity;
poor night vision;
double vision in one eye;
needing brighter light to read;
fading or yellowing of colors.
What Causes Cataract?
The most common type of cataract is related to aging of the eye. Causes of cataract include:
medical problems, such as diabetes;
injury to the eye;
medications, especially steroids;
long-term, unprotected exposure to sunlight;
previous eye surgery;
How Fast Does a Cataract Develop?
How quickly the cataract develops varies among individuals and may even be different between the two eyes. Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years.
How Is a Cataract Detected?
By performing a thorough eye examination, your ophthalmologist or optometrist can detect the presence of a cataract. A careful evaluation will rule out any other conditions that may be causing blurred vision or other eye problems. Problems with other parts of the eye (such as the cornea, retina or optic nerve) can be responsible for vision loss and may prevent you from having much or any improvement in vision after cataract surgery. If improvement in your vision is unlikely, cataract removal may not be recommended. Your ophthalmologist can tell you how much visual improvement is likely.
How Is a Cataract Treated?
Cataract Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed. However, if symptoms of cataract are not bothering you very much, surgery may not be needed. Sometimes a simple change in your eyeglass prescription may be helpful. No medications, dietary supplements or exercises have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts. Protection from excessive sunlight may help slow the progression of cataracts. Sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet (UV) light rays or regular eyeglasses with a clear, anti-UV coating offer this protection.
When to Treat Cataracts
The time to treat cataracts is usually when they are affecting your ability to function day to day. This level of impairment may be different for each of us. For example, you may start having blurred vision that keeps you from reading the way you want. Or, you may have too much glare when you are trying to drive.
Usually you decide when to plan cataract surgery, and we’re here to help you make the right decision. We offer complete cataract care at Rochester Eye Associates, from monitoring progression of cataract, through the surgery itself, and finally, your recovery and aftercare.
Dr. Lauren Drewry was born and raised in Calgary. She earned a BSc in Biology and a BSc in Psychology at the University of Calgary before going on to receive her Doctor of Optometry at Pacific University in Oregon.
Dr. Susan Wong, OD listed as one of the Top 3 Pediatric optometrists in Airdrie, AB. Dr. Susan Wong earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from University of Calgary and went on to earn her Doctor of Optometry from
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