Cataract Awareness Month 2021
- Is your vision foggy or blurry?
- Do you have decreased night vision or see halos around lights?
- Are there changes in the way you see color?
- Do you feel as if there is a film covering your eye, but repeated blinking does not make it go away?
- Does sunlight or other light seem overly bright or glaring?
If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, you may have cataract/s and a visit to your optometrist for a complete eye exam will confirm if this is the case.
Cataracts form when protein builds up in the lens of your eye and makes it cloudy, and the light that would normally be focused by the lens is scattered around because of the cloudiness, so vision is no longer clear and sharp.
Most cataracts develop with aging. Health challenges like diabetes, hypertension and malnutrition can make an individual more likely to experience cataracts. Habits like heavy alcohol intake and smoking may also contribute to cataract formation.
Blunt trauma to the eyes like a punch to the eye, being hit in the eye with a ball, and falling to the ground face first can damage the lens of the eye and result in either an immediate cataract or a delayed cataract. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation and steroid use may also induce cataracts.
Being diagnosed with cataracts does not mean there is a an immediate need for surgery. Many people live with mild cataracts for years. Corrective glasses, with an anti-reflective coating, to reduce glare, and using UV400 rated or polarized sunglasses can help with many of the symptoms.
Surgery is the only way of cataract removal and is performed by an Ophthalmologist. During surgery the clouded lens is removed and a clear artificial intraocular lens (IOL) lens is usually implanted. After the surgery it takes about six weeks for the eyes to heal and an eye exam can be performed by your optometrist to see what your visual needs will be. It is likely you will need reading glasses and possibly computer glasses or progressive lenses.
If you want the greatest freedom from eyeglasses possible, ask your cataract surgeon to discuss available options and the best choice for your visual needs during your pre-op eye exam and cataract surgery consultation.