Cataracts are not uncommon. People over 60 have a 50% chance of getting cataracts!
If you are developing cataracts, you most likely have a lot of questions about them. Some of these questions may include the following:
• What are cataracts?
• What causes cataracts?
• What are the treatment options that are available to correct cataracts?
• How have modern day advances in medicine contributed to better eyesight for
those with cataracts?
What Are Cataracts?
Sometimes, the lens in your eye begins to cloud. As these changes progress, they may begin to negatively impact your vision in multiple ways. In the beginning, cataracts are not always noticeable to you, but as the cataract progresses, it can significantly interfere with your vision.
Most cataract patients report vision problems such as: difficulty reading, a halo effect, blurred vision, decreased night vision, double vision, and even trouble identifying colors.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts can form as a result of a number of conditions, such as: old age, diabetes, glaucoma, smoking, genetics, trauma, and even specific types of medications. Some of the latest research studies show that cataracts can be a result of an accumulation of advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, while earlier studies show a correlation of a vitamin B2 or riboflavin deficiency. Other studies show that low antioxidant levels, especially of carotenoid-like compounds, can contribute to the development of cataracts.
It is best to contact your ophthalmologist if you begin to have any of the cataract symptoms listed above. Your ophthalmologist may be able to help you identify if cataracts or another condition is causing your vision problem.
Cataracts are most common in older people, although they may start developing as early as 40 years old, and can even occur congenitally They may begin to develop for different reasons in different people.
Cataract Treatment Options
Unfortunately, there are not any specific medical treatments that can reverse cataracts or prevent them from occurring. Perhaps in a decade or so, there may be.
Right now, there are a few options to help restore your vision. These treatments all require some sort of surgery. Cataract surgery is a 15 minute, outpatient procedure. This surgery is usually done without the need for suture, needles, or patches. There are several types of implants that can be used during your surgery which are chosen depending on your unique condition.
1. Standard Monofocal Lens Implant: When this type of lens is used to replace your eye lens, it offers excellent vision, but only at one set distance, for far vision. You’ll still need glasses to read up close.
2. Multifocal Lens Implant: When a multifocal lens is used to replace the cataract, you can see both near and distance objects. You get the benefit of a standard monofocal lens for far distance and the benefit of near vision through another part of the lens. There’s no need for glasses after this type of treatment in most patients.
3. Toric Lens Implant: This type of lens corrects astigmatism. This lens can be used for small and large amounts or astigmatism, and sometimes for very large amounts of astigmatism may be combined with LASIK. After surgery, you may still need reading glasses.
4. Refractive Lens Exchange: In this surgery, your natural lens, which has not developed into a cataract yet, is replaced with an artificial lens, similar to the procedure above for cataract surgery. This lens can be a multifocal, monofocal, or toric lens. This can be a powerful and safe tool for patients who have refractive errors but are not candidates for Lasik or are just tired of wearing reading glasses. It can correct for astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and presbyopia.
How To Locate a Cataract Surgeon
If you need to have cataract surgery, it is a good idea to take a little bit of time and study your options in order to find the best board certified doctor available. There are many ophthalmologists that may be available to help, but choose the best doctor in your area to be sure that your eyesight is in good hands.
You can find a qualified professional by looking online but personal referrals from friends and family are always best. Don’t base your decision on cost. Carefully review the doctor’s website, and ask to speak to any of their patients who want to be a resource to others in need of cataract procedures. After accumulating all this information, let your intuition lead you to the right doctor for you.