As you get older, just like the rest of your body, your eyes can develop age-associated problems too. One of the most common eye problems many people will face is cataracts. Let’s walk you through exactly what cataracts are, how they affect your eyes and what we can do to diagnose it and what treatment you can undergo to get this resolved so you can get your vision restored and consequently improve your overall quality of life.
What are cataracts?
Let’s start with the basics. Cataracts are a common eye condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide as they grow older. In fact, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “cataracts affect more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older, and by the age of 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts”.
Your eyes contain a natural lens which allows light to pass through so you can see properly. This is usually clear. Cataracts occur when the proteins in the natural lens of your eye break down and clump together gradually, resulting in a cloudy area on your lens that causes blurry vision. This can eventually cause significant vision impairment if left untreated. While clouded or dim vision is the most typical symptom of cataracts, some individuals may also experience:
- sensitivity to light
- halos around light
- difficulty seeing in low light or at night
- double vision
- fading or yellowing of the colors you see
What causes cataracts?
Ageing is the most common cause of cataracts. Other factors that increase the risk of cataracts include:
- having a family history of the condition
- eye injuries
- the use of certain medications, e.g., corticosteroids
- excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays
How do you prevent cataracts?
Even though this is a common eye condition, there are ways to delay the development of the condition. One of the simplest things you can do is to wear sunglasses to keep your eyes protected from UV rays – even on slightly overcast days as UV can still penetrate clouds and reach your eyes.
We also recommend incorporating vitamins E, C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 into your diet, which you can find in foods such as broccoli, corn, green peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and oily fish. These are important for overall ocular health and can help with the management of various systemic diseases that can cause cataracts to form at a faster rate than normal.
Of course, the most crucial factor to ensure we catch signs of cataracts early on is by attending your routine eye exam at our office in Quincy, Illinois. This will be able to pick up any changes or abnormalities that indicate the presence of cataracts before you even notice symptoms yourself.
What treatment is available for cataracts?
Cataracts are one of the most treatable eye conditions. If they are mild when our optometrists detect them, then they may prescribe you stronger eyeglasses and recommend aids like brighter reading lights to help you. Inevitably, cataracts will advance though, and when it gets to the point where you can no longer do activities like driving or reading, outpatient surgery will be the best solution.
This is a simple procedure which eye surgeons perform on millions of Americans every year, which involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a new, clear artificial lens. When we assess you and feel you are eligible for surgery, our skilled and highly experienced eye doctors will make the appropriate referral to a trusted cataract surgeon for treatment.
We offer pre-operative care at our eye doctor office in Quincy, including a pre-cataract surgery scan, called an A Scan Biometry. This painless and computerized test measures the length of your eye to determine the correct lens implant that your eye surgeon will use during your cataract surgery.
Contact Family Eyecare – Quincy, Illinois
If you think you may have cataracts, or are overdue for your routine eye exam, don’t hesitate to contact Drs. Chevalier or Krohn at Family Eyecare in Quincy, Illinois today to book an appointment for peace of mind. Feel free to also contact our friendly team if you’d like to find out more about what happens during an A scan biometry before cataract surgery or any other aspect of your pre-op care, or cataract treatment.