All about Cataracts
When looking at an object, light is received through the pupil. It is then focused onto the the back of the eye, where there is a collection of light sensitive cells called the retina.
A cataract occurs when the eye’s normally clear lens becomes fogged up, making it hard or even impossible for light to travel properly through the lens and be clearly focused on the retina.
Among other symptoms associated with cataracts, you may experience painless, blurry vision, or faded or yellowed colors. Dr. Karen Healy, O.D., of Kittery Eye adds, “Increased difficulty seeing at night or in dim lighting is another easily overlooked symptom. You should consult your eye care professional for an appointment if you have any of these symptoms and, if diagnosed, be sure to have regular check-ups thereafter.
Cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 45. A condition that commonly develops as the eye ages, by the time we reach 80, more than half of us will have developed a cataract.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye which is normally transparent. The lens, located inside the eye, behind the iris and the pupil, focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye, where it is converted to nerve signals that are passed to the brain, allowing you to see. When your lens becomes cloudy, the images projected onto your retina become blurry and unfocused and therefore the signal to the brain is also unclear. You can compare this to looking through a dirty or cloudy window. If the window is not clear, you can’t see well.
Usually cataracts develop slowly over time so your vision gradually worsens. While the majority of cataracts are a result of the aging process, there are also congenital cataracts that are present at birth, secondary cataracts that result from eye surgery or diseases such as glaucoma or diabetes and traumatic cataracts that result at any age from an injury to the eye.
While you may be able to live with mild or moderate cataracts, severe cataracts are treated with surgery. The procedure involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Cataract surgery is a common procedure that has a very high success rate of restoring vision to patients. Modern cataract surgery is frequently done as an outpatient procedure. Patients will have greatly improved vision the next day, and will continue to improve over the next few weeks. Surgery is often done in one eye first, and surgery on the second eye, if needed, may be done 2 weeks later.
Learn more about the specifics of Cataracts on the links below:
- Signs & Symptoms of Cataracts Understand the warning signs and symptoms of cataracts to prevent them from affecting your daily life.
- Risk Factors of Cataracts Learn more about the risk factors associated with cataracts and what measures you can take to prevent or delay them.
- Treatment for Cataracts and Cataract Surgery Treatment options for living with cataracts. Learn more about cataract surgery and how to know if it is right for you.
- Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) If you are getting cataract surgery, there are a variety of IOLs to choose from including presbyopia-correcting IOLs, which can also correct for near vision loss associated with aging.
- Preventing Cataracts Additional information including lifestyle factors that could impact cataracts.