Cataracts are quite common in older adults. Typically, cataracts start developing when people are in their late 40s or 50s. However, people may take some time to start experiencing vision changes.
That said, it is important to understand that cataracts can occur at birth due to infections during pregnancy. Thus, it is important to learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for this eye condition.
This eye condition occurs when your eyes’ lenses develop one or more cloudy patches. Left untreated, these abnormalities grow over time, causing blurred or cloudy vision. For some people, cataracts develop in just one eye. For others, they appear in both eyes. Failing to address this eye problem can lead to blindness.
In older individuals, cataracts usually stem from the gradual buildup of protein in the eye. Sometimes, they may develop due to eye trauma or injury. Essentially, you can compare a cataract to a foggy window or a dirty camera lens.
The eye’s lens has two main components. These are water and proteins. The proteins have a very precise structure that allows them to be present and still allow light to pass through the eye.
But as people age, the proteins tend to lose their structured position. Instead, they start to clump or cluster together in patches that can develop into cataracts. Over time, these patches become larger and denser, leading to obscured or blurry vision. Cataracts often develop in both eyes. However, their rate of development can vary significantly.
This common eye condition is completely pain-free and can develop slowly over several months or years. Fortunately, more than ever before, eye doctors can diagnose and treat this condition easily. One of the most obvious symptoms of this condition is clouded vision. But since it is painless and develops slowly, it is important to get an eye exam from an eye doctor.
During the exam, your eye doctor will evaluate your symptoms and medical history. He/she will then perform a comprehensive eye examination to confirm or rule out cataracts. Some of the tests your eye doctor may perform include:
A visual acuity test to determine how well you can read a series of letters.
A slit-lamp exam to check your eyes’ front structures under magnification.
A retinal exam to examine your retina.
Applanation tonometry to measure fluid pressure in your eyes.
When prescription eyeglasses cannot improve your vision, the most effective treatment option is cataract surgery. However, you may not need to undergo surgery right away. If your eye doctor catches the problem at its early stage, a new prescription for your eyeglasses may help you get by for a while.
If you are having trouble reading, try a magnifying glass or a brighter lamp. If glare is a problem, purchase eyeglasses with an anti-glare coating. Such glasses will help you drive more comfortably and safely at night.
Most importantly, it is important to keep close tabs on how your eye condition is developing. When your vision problems start to affect your daily routine, you should consider undergoing cataract surgery.
There are several types of cataract-removal surgical procedures. However, they all aim to replace the cloudy lens with an artificial one. The common types of cataract surgeries include:
Femtosecond laser surgery.
More than 95 percent of patients experience clearer vision afterward.
To learn more about diagnosing and treating cataracts, visit Cleburne Eye Clinic at our office in Cleburne, Texas. You can call (817) 645-2411 today to schedule an appointment.