A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens inside the eye. It can be compared to a window that is frosted or "fogged" with steam. The amount and pattern of cloudiness within the lens can vary from person to person. Patients with cloudiness that is not near the center of the lens may not be aware that a cataract is present.
Common symptoms of cataract include:
* A painless blurring of vision
* Glare, or light sensitivity
* Frequent glasses prescription changes
* Double vision in one eye
* Needing brighter light to read
* Poor night vision
* Fading or yellowing of colors
The most common type of cataract occurs because of the aging of the eye.
Other causes of cataract include:
* Family history
* Medical problems, such as diabetes
* Injury to the eye
* Medications, such as steroids
* Long-term, unprotected exposure to sunlight
* Previous eye surgery
The presence and extent of a cataract can be detected during a thorough eye examination by your optometrist or ophthalmologist. The rate of development of the cataract varies among individuals, and may vary even between the two eyes. Most cataracts associated with aging, progress gradually over a period of years. Other cataracts, especially in younger people and people with diabetes, may progress rapidly over a few months and cause a more dramatic worsening of vision.
Surgery is the only way your ophthalmologist can remove a cataract. However, if symptoms from a cataract are mild, a change of glasses may be all that is needed for you to function more comfortably. There are no medications, dietary supplements, exercises, or optical devices that have been proven to prevent or cure cataracts. Cataract surgery should only be considered when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with daily activities. Based on your symptoms, you and your eye doctor should decide together when surgery is appropriate. See No-Stitch Cataract Surgery
Cataracts are a common cause of poor vision, especially in those over 65 years old, but they are treatable. The ophthalmologists and optometrists at The Eye Care Center are available by appointment to perform thorough eye examinations that will detect the presence and extent of cataracts, as well as any other conditions that might be causing impaired vision.