What Are Cataracts?

Elderly Couple Strolling

One of the most gratifying procedures we perform at SightMD is cataract surgery at SightMD. Cataracts are the world’s leading cause of reversible blindness.

In the US alone they affect over 20 million adults. Keep reading to learn more about cataracts!

What are cataracts?

We’re all born with a lens in our eye. The role of the natural lens is to focus light onto the retina, which is then transmitted to the brain.

Typically, when we’re young the lens is clear, so light can pass through it easily. As we get older, the lens proteins clump together creating an opacity known as a cataract.

When this happens, light is no longer focused to a point on the retina but rather light becomes scattered. This leads to the main symptoms of cataracts.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

· Difficulty driving at nighttime

· Light sensitivity and increased glare

· Halo effect around lights

· Dim, cloudy, or blurry vision

· More frequent glasses prescription changes

· Double vision in a single eye

One of the main problems with cataracts is patients don’t realize they have them at first. For many, cataracts may develop as early as their forties or fifties.

They aren’t as noticeable since they are smaller and haven’t started impacting vision yet. But cataracts grow and develop over time. As they get bigger, your vision becomes affected.

What are the risk factors?

Generally, cataracts are an aging process. Other factors can speed up the formation of a cataract. These include diabetes, smoking, UV light, eye trauma, eye inflammation, or steroid use.

Be sure to mention these factors to your doctor. There’s no way to guarantee you’ll never develop cataracts. You can reduce your risk of early cataract development.

The easiest way to do this is to live a healthy lifestyle. This means eating healthy, exercising, and above all, not smoking! Smoking is one of the biggest factors that can increase cataract development.

How are cataracts treated?

Once a cataract affects your lifestyle, it’s time for surgery. In the US the average age for cataract surgery is 69 years old.

Cataract surgery is the most common surgery performed throughout the world. Thanks to advances in technology, it is a very safe and quick surgery.

During cataract surgery, your surgeon removes the lens in your eye. It is then replaced with an artificial lens or IOL. Depend on the IOL you choose, you may be able to reduce your dependence on glasses.

It’s important to discuss this decision with your doctor before cataract surgery. There are many IOL options available, depending on your lifestyle needs.

What is life like after cataract surgery?

Like any surgical procedure, there is a recovery period after cataract surgery. You’ll need to take it easy and avoid any strenuous activities for two weeks after the procedure.

You’ll also need to be careful around any bodies of water. It’s important to not get any water into your eye while it’s recovering.

Although it seems crazy, water is a great place for bacteria to breed and grow! Above all, after cataract surgery, make sure to relax and give your body enough time to heal!

Wondering if it’s time for cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at one of SightMD’s locations in Long Island, NY now!

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