A cataract is a clouding of the lens that impedes the lens ability to properly focus light onto the retina, resulting in loss of vision.
If your cataract develops to a point that daily activities are affected, then you will be referred to an ophthalmologist so a cataract extraction can be done. Before the surgery, you and the ophthalmologist will decide on what type of post-cataract vision work best for your daily activities. This visual correction all depends on the type of intraocular lens implant the surgeon places into the lens capsule. The IOL can be a single, multifocal or accommodating IOL. However, a cataract extraction doesn’t eliminate the need for corrective wear in the future but the dependency of it.
An Optometrist can keep updating your prescription to help you see as clear as possible but surgery is the only way to effectively treat a cataract. A cataract extraction is the most successful type of surgery with a 98% success rate. With any surgery there is a minimal chance of post-surgical adverse effects; however these are easily treated through the use of therapeutic agents.
Cataracts are often seen in people over the age of 55, but can be evident in the younger population, including newborns. There are a number of symptoms that may indicate a cataract;
• Vision that is cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy
• Progressive nearsightedness in older people because of increased lens density.
• Changes in the way you see color because the discolored lens acts as a filter.
• Problems driving at night due to glare from oncoming headlights.
• Problems with glare during the day.
• Double vision
• Sudden changes in glasses prescription.
The clouding of the lens commonly progresses with age but it may be due to genetics, injury, disease and other factors. Excessive exposure to UV/IR radiation, cigarette smoke, and the use of certain medications can increase the risk of developing cataracts faster.
There is no preventive measure to help avoid cataracts. However, some daily changes, such as wearing sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays, or to avoid smoking can lessen the risk of cataractogenesis.
The rate of cataract progression is unpredictable possibly forming slowly over many years, or rapidly forming in a matter of months. Some cataracts never progress to a point that requires removal. A cataract should be removed when it is restricting an individual’s daily activities.