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Has your vision become blurry as if you’re looking through a fogged window or at an Impressionist painting? If so, cataracts could be the cause. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40 and affect more than 22 million Americans aged 40 or older, according to Prevent Blindness America (PBA). A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye caused by protein deposit build up. Since cataracts start out small, they initially have little to no impact on your vision. Over time, you may notice your vision is becoming increasingly blurry and out of focus. Cataracts can cause the light from the sun to be too bright, make it difficult to drive at night due to the glare of oncoming headlights, and even cause colors to appear less vivid. Our eye doctor has helped hundreds of patients safely restore their vision through cataract surgery.
Understanding Cataracts: Risk Factors, Diagnosis & Treatment Options
As we age, protein may clump together in the lens, causing it to become cloudy. The more protein that clumps together, the cloudier the lens will become. While the exact reasons for this change in protein distribution is not fully known, scientists have identified several risk factors, including long-term exposure to UV radiation, that can increase your risk for cataracts.
Are you at risk for cataracts? The following can increase the risk for cataracts: smoking, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, certain statin medications to reduce cholesterol levels, previous eye injury or inflammation, and hormonal replacement therapy. You are also at increased risk for developing cataracts if you have a family history of this condition. If you have noticed a change in your vision, including an increase in constant blurriness (as if you’re looking through a fogged window), schedule an appointment with our eye doctor. Cataract diagnosis is done with simple, straightforward exams. These exams include a visual acuity test (reading an eye chart), a slit-lamp examination of your eye under magnification, and dilating the eyes for a retinal exam.
A cataract diagnosis can be scary, especially since this diagnosis means your vision could be at risk. The good news is that with proactive care, our eye doctors are able to correct this vision loss. While early symptoms can be addressed using bifocals, stronger lighting and increased magnification, surgery is necessary to prevent serious impairment. Cataract surgery is a safe, effective, routine procedure. In fact, it is one of the most commonly performed surgical treatments in the United States, with more than 3 million Americans undergoing cataract surgery each year. During this procedure, the clouded lens will be removed and replaced with a clear, plastic intraocular lens. Advanced developments in lens technology mean that intraocular lenses can also block ultraviolet light (which may damage the retina), correct astigmatism, or provide multifocal vision.
Poor vision does not have to be an inevitable part of aging. For more information on cataracts, including diagnosis and treatment options, schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors today by calling us at 435-673-5577.