CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss in adults age 55 and up. By the age of 65, about half of adults have a cataract, and by age 75, almost everyone has some form of cataract. Fortunately, advanced cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants allow many to have their sight fully restored.
Symptoms of cataracts include the following:
- Blurry, cloudy or dim vision.
- Increased trouble seeing at night.
- Increased light or glare sensitivity.
- “Halos” in your vision around lights.
- Colors seem to fade or become yellowed.
- Double vision occurring in one eye.
- Frequent vision prescription changes.
How do cataracts develop?
As cataracts develop, lenses become thicker, less transparent and less flexible. Tissues within the lens may begin to break down or clump together, creating clouding. Cataracts usually develop in both eyes, but one eye may have more advanced cataracts than the other.
Early detection of cataracts can limit their interference in your daily life. This is just one reason why regular eye exams are so important, especially as you age. In the early stages, stronger glasses or brighter lighting may help, but when cataracts begin to interfere with daily tasks, it’s time to remove them with surgery.
During cataract surgery, the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant. These are made of silicone or acrylic and are usually around a quarter-inch in diameter. Only a very small incision is needed to place them.
Post-surgical discomfort is usually slight. Eye drops will be prescribed, along with pain relievers if necessary. In general, you should be able to watch TV, take a shower or use your computer within a few hours of surgery. Many patients report being able to see clearly within several hours, but everyone is different. It may take a week or two before your sight regains its best focus.
Can I prevent cataracts?
There is no known way to fully prevent cataracts, but there are some risk factors, including the following:
- Increased age.
- Previous eye injury or inflammation.
- High blood pressure.
- Overexposure to sunlight.
- Excessive alcohol use.
- Long-term use of corticosteroid medications.
Regular eye exams are key to early detection of cataracts. Richens Eye Center’s board-certified ophthalmologists can remove cataracts with a personalized plan using the latest technologies. Schedule an evaluation online or by calling 435-986-2020.
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