The eye works a lot like a camera. The camera aperture acts just like the pupil. Light rays focus through your lens onto the retina, a layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. Similar to photographic film, the retina allows the image to be “seen” by the brain. The pupil varies in size which depends on how bright the conditions are. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens within the eye.

Cataracts: How Do We Get Them

The lens inside the eye absorbs uv radiation to protect our eye. Over time the lens inside our eye can become cloudy. This prevents light rays from passing clearly through the eye. These are called cataracts. The loss of transparency may be so mild that vision is barely affected, or it can be so severe that no shapes or movements are seen. When the lens inside our eye becomes cloudy enough to interfere with your vision to any significant degree, these are called a cataracts. It’s similar to trying to drive while looking thru a cloudy windshield. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can usually correct refractive errors caused by early cataracts, but they cannot sharpen your vision enough if a severe cataract is present. The most common cause of cataracts is aging and uv exposure. Other causes include trauma, medications such as steroids, systemic diseases such as diabetes, and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light.

Cataracts typically develop slowly and progressively, causing a gradual and painless decrease in vision. Other changes you might experience include blurry vision; glare, particularly at night; frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription; a decrease in color intensity; a yellowing of images; and in rare cases, double vision. Reducing your exposure to ultraviolet light by wearing sunglasses may reduce your risk for developing a cataract, there is no cure except to have the cataract surgically removed.

Cataracts: Treatment

To diagnose a cataract our Optometrist uses a microscope to look inside the eye. Cataracts are usually easy to see but sometimes we need to dilate your eyes. We can help you to determine if cataract surgery is needed. The time to have cataract surgery is when the cataract is affecting your vision enough to interfere with your normal lifestyle. Our Optometrist can help determine if it’s time for cataract surgery. This is done by making either a small incision (phacoemulsification) or a larger incision (extracapsular extraction).  The eye doctor then installs a synthetic intra-ocular lens (IOL) at the time of cataract removal to replace the focusing power of the natural lens.

Cataract surgery is a very successful operation. As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur during or after surgery. Some are severe enough to limit vision. But in most cases, vision, as well as quality of life, improves significantly. Cataract surgery may sound scary but it’s usually a relatively easy operation. We are here for all of your eye care needs. Please schedule an eye exam at eyemechanix.com.

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