What are Cataracts?
Cataracts develop when the clear lens located inside the eye clouds over. Cataracts can happen at a very slow rate over the course of several years, before they affect vision. Patients with cataracts can usually treat mild symptoms on their own. Serious cases of cataracts require surgery to remove them.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts develop as people age and their lens tissue gets thicker and less transparent. Medical conditions also can cause lens tissue to break down and group into clusters. These clusters cover the lens, which makes it hard to see clearly. Over time, lenses become more cloudy as cataracts spread, covering a wider part of the lens.
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Cataract symptoms usually don’t occur suddenly. It typically takes several years for symptoms to show up. Common cataract symptoms include blurry vision, heightened sensitivity to light, colors taking on a faded appearance, double vision, cloudy vision, and frequent changes in contact or eyeglass prescriptions. Some patients also have difficulty seeing at night or while doing activities that require a lot of light such as reading.
Am I at Risk of Getting Cataracts?
Anyone can develop cataracts, since they’re usually associated with the aging process. However, there are factors that can make patients more likely to develop cataracts. These include eye trauma, certain eye conditions, diabetes, genetic disorders, corticosteroid use over a long period of time, and smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
How are Cataracts Treated?
Dr. Hart-Moreland provides diagnostic services and treatment for patients with cataracts. When cataracts don’t present noticeable symptoms, patients typically can manage them by:
- Reading and doing other activities in brightly lit environments
- Avoiding driving at night
- Having eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions updated
- Putting sunglasses on to protect against glare
When patients need cataract removal surgery, Dr. Hart-Moreland refers them to a specialist for treatment. Surgeons remove lenses affected by cataracts and insert artificial lenses in their place.