What Causes Cataracts and What are the Treatments?
What is a cataract? We hear that word often and some people can spot a cataract, but what exactly is it?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is located behind the iris and the pupil.
It’s the leading cause of vision loss in people over 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world. According to CNIB, there are 2.5 million Canadians with cataracts.
In this blog post, we will take a look at cataracts and discuss the causes, cataract symptoms, cataract treatment and the cataract surgery recovery.
Cataracts are usually detected during routine eye exams. As you age, your lenses naturally harden and can turn cloudy. When it becomes cloudy, this blocks light from reaching the retina and interferes with your vision.
Cataracts can develop in one eye or both, at the same time or at different times.
Some Cataract symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to bright light or experiencing glares and halos around lights
- Seeing double
- Difficulty seeing in low light or at night
- Difficulty seeing details
- Poor central vision
- Problems distinguishing colours
What Causes Cataracts?
There are many different things that cause a cataract, here are some of the risk factors:
- Age (over 40)
- Family history
- Drinking alcohol
- Excessive sun exposure
- Different medications
- A previous eye injury (cut, the intense heat of a chemical burn, puncture)
- Other health problems (Diabetes, etc)
Cataracts typically develop slowly and progressively, causing a gradual but painless decrease in vision.
When the decrease in vision happens, you might also experience the blurry vision that we mentioned and frequent changes in your glasses prescription. As the natural lens of the eye gets harder, farsighted people can experience improved near vision and may not need reading glasses as much.
But, nearsighted people can become more nearsighted, causing a worsening in their distance vision.
Can You Cure Cataracts?
A lot of people want to know if you can cure cataracts. There isn’t a cure for cataracts, but there is a cataract surgery that can be done, which will remove the cataract from the eye.
During this routine, outpatient surgical procedure, an ophthalmologist will remove the cataract by making a small incision in the cornea at the front of the eye.
A synthetic intraocular lens is then inserted to replace the focusing power that the natural lens had. These synthetic lenses can be monovision, which means it has a fixed focus at a pre-set distance, or it can be multifocal, which allows focused vision at different distances.
When is the Right Time for Cataract Surgery?
After speaking to your health care professionals, you will know when the right time to book your cataract surgery. It’s time when the cataract is affecting your vision enough that it interferes with your day-to-day life.
Cataract Surgery Recovery
One and a half million people have cataract surgery every year in North America. Out of those people, 95% have a successful result. In the vast majority of cataract surgery patients, vision and quality of life are improved.
Once you have the surgery, your vision will begin to improve in the first few days. Some cataract surgery recovery patients will wear an eye patch for several days after the cataract surgery as well as throughout the night.
You will have to attend some follow up meetings with your doctor after your surgery to make sure you’re healing properly. Eye drops and other medication may be prescribed to you to prevent infection, reduce inflammation and control eye pressure.
After a couple of days, most of the discomfort should disappear.
If you have any more questions about cataracts, the symptoms or the recovery process after surgery, contact Sun Valley Optometry today. Dr. Mat Broschak’s main focus is primary eye care for all age groups and he enjoys the education aspect of teaching patients all about vision care.
If you have any questions, Dr. Mat Broschak has the answer.