Cataracts are still the leading cause of blindness worldwide, responsible for 48% of the world’s blindness. While some are born with (congenital) cataracts, they are normally associated with ageing or other risk factors, including medical use of steroids, diabetes, smoking, UV exposure, trauma, radiation, or other eye conditions. Most people start showing signs of cataracts in their 40s or 50s, even if symptoms are not yet present. It is only when a cataract impairs your vision to a certain level that surgery is considered.
A cataract is an opacification, or cloudiness, of the eye’s crystalline lens, located just behind the pupil (see diagram). There are many different types of cataracts, but all result in blurred vision, poor night vision, loss of contrast (often a dimming of vision) and glare, experienced especially while driving at night, or on bright, sunny days. Once cataracts start to affect your vision, they continue to progress until they are removed; if nothing is done, they would eventually lead to blindness as no light would be able to pass through the lens to get to the retina. The only treatment for a cataract is to remove it (the entire clouded lens) surgically. While there are risks associated with any surgical procedure, cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed and safest procedures done in the United States. Once the clouded lens (cataract) is removed from the eye using a procedure called phacoemulsification, an implant lens is put in the very same position in the eye. The power of this lens is determined prior to surgery and can actually correct nearsightedness and/or farsightedness, giving you better vision after cataract surgery. Cataracts are a medical condition, which means that your medical insurance covers office visits to assess them and the surgery to remove them.
Front Range Eye Health Center, PC
Drs. Hale Kell, Cindy Beeks and Heather Gitchell
1220 Summit View Drive
Louisville, CO 80027
Author: Dr. Cindy Beeks
Other vision articles by Dr. Cindy Beeks
Contact Lens Options
Front Range Eye Health Center, P.C.
1220 Summit View Drive, Louisville CO