Cataracts are a very common eye condition, especially as we age. According to the National Eye Institute, by age 80 more than half of all Americans either have a cataract developing or have had cataract surgery. It can occur in either or both eyes, but once a cataract is surgically removed, it cannot return in that eye. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, put you at greater risk of developing cataracts, as well as lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol use. The environment or area where you live could influence your risk. Cataract prevalence has been shown to increase with proximity to the earth's equator, where the population has more exposure to strong ultraviolet sunlight. Cataracts can develop as a result of exposure to some types of radiation and a result of trauma in or around the eye. Additionally, some babies are born with congenital cataracts, which may or may not affect their vision.
You should never ignore changes to your vision. If you notice things starting to look cloudy, distorted, or blurry, you could be developing cataracts. Learn more about this eye condition that affects more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older.
Then, contact Tradewinds Eye Care to schedule an appointment with an optometrist in Davidson.
Each of your eyes has a lens sitting just behind the pupil. The lens is responsible for focusing light onto your retina. A healthy lens is clear, but a cataract causes the lens to become cloudy, yellowed, and opaque. Your risk for developing a cataract in one or both eyes increases as you age.
Cataract symptoms include:
Your visual acuity will be tested and a refraction will be performed to see if your vision can be improved by a new or updated glasses prescription. If your vision can be well corrected with a prescription, it is unlikely that the cataract is very advanced.
An eye doctor diagnoses cataracts during a comprehensive eye exam. The doctor dilates your pupil with special eye drops and examines your eye using a slit-lamp biomicroscope, which makes abnormalities easy to detect. Dilation is an important step in diagnosing cataracts because a small, undilated pupil makes the lens more difficult to see.
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First, the doctor will see if your vision can be corrected with a prescription. If your cataract is in the early stages, it may not drastically interfere with your vision, so eyeglasses may be enough to restore your sight. Once a new prescription no longer helps, it’s time to consider cataract surgery.
Don’t worry—there’s no reason to rush into surgery. Untreated cataracts won’t harm your eyes if you decide to wait and see how the condition progresses—it will simply cloud your vision further until you have it removed.
Rest assured that eye surgery is a safe treatment option for cataracts. Your eye doctor removes your clouded lens, then replaces it with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL). Your doctor may suggest a new laser-assisted approach when installing multifocal or extended-range IOLs capable of correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, as well as restoring your vision clarity.
As an outpatient procedure, the recovery time from cataract surgery is minimal. Aftercare involves using eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation while your eye heals. You will also need several follow-up visits with your surgeon to ensure a good outcome.
Complications and side effects of cataract surgery are rare and include infection, bleeding, and retinal detachment. Speak with your eye doctor about the risks or benefits before you schedule your procedure.
Contact us for answers to any remaining questions you have about the cataract removal process.
The average cost of cataract surgery depends on the type of IOL you need, the technology used to perform the procedure, and the skill and experience of the surgeon. Fortunately, Medicare covers medically necessary vision services, including cataract surgery, thus greatly reducing the price you pay out of pocket for this procedure.
If your vision is starting to cloud and interfering with daily life, don’t wait to schedule your next eye exam!
Schedule an eye exam at Tradewinds Eye Care in Davidson by using our online booking tool!