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Cataracts

Primary Symptoms of Cataracts

I have blurry vision far and near even with recently prescribed glasses on. (This may mean you have Cataracts.)

A Cataract is a condition that may explain why you have blurry vision far and near even when you are wearing a pair of recently prescribed eyeglasses. With Cataracts, there is a clouding of the normal internal lens of the eye and are more common after the age of 60.

Please click on the Cataracts Description video below to see a simulation of vision through an eye with a cataract. For the last 2 years, Laser assisted cataract surgery is available for selected patients at additional fees and many of our TLS surgeons are now trained in this exciting advance. The femtosecond laser can now perform some of the key steps in the ultrasonic small incision phacoemulisfication procecure as is illustrated in the video below. It is important for patients to understand that even with the use of the laser, this is still real surgery with the same risks as conventional cataract surgery.

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Although many eyes have early cataract formation, not all cataracts require surgery as patients with early cataracts can have normal vision with no symptoms. These cataracts can be observed until the patient begins to experience problems with their vision (with glasses on) such as blurred vision for far and or near, and or glare and difficulty driving at night.

Other explanations for why you may have blurry vision far and near even with recently prescribed glasses include glaucoma or problems in the retina.

The eye surgeons listed in our Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory typically have the professional experience and qualifications to diagnose and treat patients with cataracts and most of them perform cataract eye surgery. In fact, many of these surgeons are the leading experts when it comes to cataract eye surgery. The few eye surgeons in our directory who do not offer cataract surgery should be able to refer you to a highly qualified cataract surgeon in your local area.

To learn more about cataracts, please click on the below discussions:

Understanding Cataracts Table of Contents

Causes, Risk Factors, and Effects of Cataracts

Symptoms and Detection of Cataracts

Treating Cataracts

  • How is a Cataract Treated?
Cataract Surgery
How to Find a Highly Qualified Cataract Surgeon
What Research Is Being Done Regarding Cataracts?


Surgical Procedures for Cataracts

• Cataract Surgery (similar to RLE or CLE)


Understanding Cataracts


What Is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts are very common in older people.
By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or
have had cataract surgery.

A cataract can occur in either or both eyes.

It cannot spread from one eye to the other.

What Is the Lens of the Eye?

The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. Once it reaches the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that
are sent to the brain.

The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens
is cloudy from a cataract, the image you see will be blurred.

Are There Other Types of Cataract?

Yes. Although most cataracts are related to aging, there are other types of cataract:

1. Secondary cataract. Cataracts can form after surgery for other eye problems, such as glaucoma. Cataracts also can develop in people who have other health problems, such as diabetes. Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.

2. Traumatic cataract. Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.

3. Congenital cataract. Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes. These cataracts may be so small that they do not affect vision. If they do, the lenses may need to be removed.

4. Radiation cataract. Cataracts can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.

 

Causes and Risk Factors, and Effects of Cataracts

What Causes Cataracts?

The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil (see diagram). It works much like a camera lens. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye, where an image is recorded. The lens also adjusts the eye's focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away. The lens is made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.

But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.

Researchers suspect that there are several causes of cataract, such as smoking and diabetes. Or, it may be that the protein in the lens just changes from the wear and tear it takes over the years.

How Can Cataracts Affect Your Vision?

Age-related cataracts can affect your vision in two ways:

1 .Clumps of protein reduce the sharpness of the image reaching the retina.

The lens consists mostly of water and protein. When the protein clumps up, it clouds the lens and reduces the light that reaches the retina. The clouding may become severe enough to cause blurred vision. Most age-related cataracts develop from protein clumpings.

When a cataract is small, the cloudiness affects only a small part of the lens. You may not notice any changes in your vision. Cataracts tend to "grow" slowly, so vision gets worse gradually. Over time, the cloudy area in the lens may get larger, and the cataract may increase in size. Seeing may become more difficult. Your vision may get duller or blurrier.

2. The clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision.

As the clear lens slowly colors with age, your vision gradually may
acquire a brownish shade. At first, the amount of tinting may be small
and may not cause a vision problem. Over time, increased tinting may
make it more difficult to read and perform other routine activities. This gradual change in the amount of tinting does not affect the sharpness of the image transmitted to the retina.

If you have advanced lens discoloration, you may not be able to identify blues and purples. You may be wearing what you believe to be a pair of black socks, only to find out from friends that you are wearing purple socks.

When Are You Most Likely To Have a Cataract?

The term "age-related" is a little misleading. You don't have to be a senior citizen to get this type of cataract. In fact, people can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. But during middle age, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision. It is after age 60 that most cataracts steal vision.

Who Is at Risk for Cataract?

The risk of cataract increases as you get older. Other risk factors for cataract include:

  • Certain diseases such as diabetes.
  • Personal behavior such as smoking and alcohol use.
  • The environment such as prolonged exposure to sunlight.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Vision?

Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataract. If you smoke, stop. Researchers also believe good nutrition can help reduce the risk of age-related cataract. They recommend eating green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants.

If you are age 60 or older, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years. In addition to cataract, your eye care professional can check for signs of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other vision disorders. Early treatment for many eye diseases may save your eyesight.

Symptoms and Detection

What Are the Symptoms of a Cataract?

The most common symptoms of a cataract are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision.
  • Colors seem faded.
  • Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. A halo
    may appear around lights.
  • Poor night vision.
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.)
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.

These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your eye care professional.

How is a Cataract detected?

Cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes:

Visual acuity test. This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances. Dilated eye exam. Drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours. Tonometry. An instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye
for this test.

Your vision care professional also may do other tests to learn more about the structure and health of your eye.

Treating Cataracts

How Is a Cataract Treated?

The symptoms of early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.

A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. You and your eye care professional can make this decision together. Once you understand the benefits and risks of surgery, you can make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right for you. In most cases, delaying cataract surgery will not cause long-term damage to your eye or make the surgery more difficult. You do not have to rush into surgery.

Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not cause problems with your vision. For example, a cataract should be removed if it prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. If your eye care professional finds a cataract, you may not need cataract surgery for several years. In fact, you might never need cataract surgery. By having your vision tested regularly, you and your eye care professional can discuss if and when you might need treatment.

If you choose surgery, your eye care professional may refer you to a specialist to remove the cataract.

If you have cataracts in both eyes that require surgery, the surgery will be performed on each eye at separate times, usually four to eight weeks
apart.

Many people who need cataract surgery also have other eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. If you have other eye conditions in addition to cataract, talk with your doctor. You should learn about the risks, benefits, alternatives, and expected results of cataract surgery.

Cataract Surgery

Please visit our Cataract Surgery discussion to learn more, including our discussion of the recent advancement with femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery.

Our Cataract Surgery discussion covers the following topics in more detail:

To learn more about surgical and non-surgical treatments for correction of vision problems that often accompany cataracts
and vision related problems, please visit
Treatments to Correct Vision Problems Accompanying Cataracts

How to Find a Highly Qualified Cataract Surgeon

Our Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory features highly qualified LASIK ,Laser, refractive and cataract surgery experts who have proven experience, are active in the field of refractive surgery, and have been professionally recognized for their research, accomplishments,
and contributions to advancing vision correction care.

Most of the eye surgeons in our directory also perform cataract eye surgery and many of them are leading experts when it comes to lens implants and other refractive surgery procedures. In other words, most of the eye surgeons listed at Trusted LASIK Surgeons are not simply LASIK specialists, but vision correction experts who are accomplished cataract surgeons.

Please visit our directory of vision correction experts to find an experienced eye surgeon closest to you and review the profile of an expert surgeon to see if they offer cataract surgery.

Even if the surgeon nearest to you in our directory does not offer cataract eye surgery, we believe that surgeon may be able to refer you to an experienced and qualified surgeon in your local area that can help diagnose and treat you for your cataract and other vision problems. If you do contact a surgeon in our directory, please let the surgeon know you found the doctor through Trusted LASIK Surgeons.

The screening process and standards used by Trusted LASIK Surgeons can be found at:.

How Are Lasik Eye Surgeons Qualified at TLS

What Research Is Being Conducted Concerning Cataracts?

The National Eye Institute is conducting and supporting a number of studies focusing on factors associated with the development of age-related cataract.
These studies include:

  • The effect of sunlight exposure, which may be associated with an increased risk of cataract.
  • Vitamin supplements, which have shown varying results in delaying the progression of cataract.
  • Genetic studies, which show promise for better understanding cataract development.

The National Eye Institute (NEI) conducts and supports research that leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness. The NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This online resource infomation provides information about cataracts. It answers questions about causes and symptoms, and discusses diagnosis and types of treatment. It was adapted from Don't Lose Sight of Cataract (NIH Publication No. 94-3463) and Cataract: What You Should Know (NIH Publication No. 03-201).

To find a vision correction expert surgeon who has qualified to be listed at Trusted LASIK surgeons in another area, please visit:

Find a Trusted LASIK Eye Surgeon

The screening process and standards used by Trusted LASIK Surgeons™ can be found at:

How Are Lasik Eye Surgeons Qualified at TLS