As we age our bodies go through a number of changes. For many the changes are visible – perhaps some grey hair and a few wrinkles. Our vision also tends to change. Cataracts are usually age related. Of those individuals who reach eighty years old, about half will have had a cataract, or surgery for cataracts; it can occur on one or both eyes.
What happens with a cataract?
A cataract is formed when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, causing a vision problem. As light passes through the lens it reaches the retina which contacts the brain with a nerve signal. If the lens is not clear, the retina cannot see a clear image. Many eye specialists compare this regression of the lens to that of very dirty windows.
Cataracts are typically caused by aging, however, there are additional types of cataracts that are not the expected types.
- Secondary cataracts can be caused by other kinds of eye surgery, such as glaucoma. Also, diabetes and health difficulties can contribute to cataracts.
- Traumatic cataracts are caused by an eye injury, although it may take years to develop.
- Congenital cataracts are when a baby is born with it or it happens in childhood. It is possible they will be so small they have no negative impact.
- Some kinds of radiation can cause cataracts.
The lens is behind the iris and pupil. As in a camera, the lens focuses light to the rear of the eye toward the retina, and an image is documented. The lens creates focus, allowing vision both close and at a distance. Water and protein are inclusive components of the lens. As the lens ages, sometimes the protein lumps together, causing a cloudy spot. It will continue growing with time, producing more difficult eyesight. Smoking, health challenges and age all affect our eyesight and may influence cataracts.
Effects of cataracts:
When the protein lumps in the lens, vision becomes cloudy and will continue to evolve into worse eyesight if it is not properly dealt with. As the cataract grows slowly, the ability to see will become more fuzzy and blurred with time.
When the cataract is fairly new, a different prescription for glasses may help a while. Surgery can correct the problem. It is painless and swift. The natural lens is carefully removed with very small instruments and suction, then replaced with an artificial lens. Individuals will remain in the physician’s office to rest for a while. The staff will make sure they are comfortable and check to make certain transportation is available since patients will not be able to drive for several days. Cataract patients must keep the eye covered and clean at all times and use the prescribed medicines as instructed to prevent infection. Call an ophthalmologist immediately if there are any small dots or web like floaters that distort vision.
Cataract surgery is safe and effective. It is recommended to follow the doctor’s orders – it is important for them know if one is prescribed any blood thinners several weeks ahead of the surgery. Tests will be completed well ahead of time, the doctor will inform patiences of the results and provide an assessment for the right surgical procedure for that individual since every person’s diagnosis and treatment will be slightly different.
If you would like to take advantage of all the benefits cataract surgery can do to enhance your vision, eyes and life, contact a Houston cataract surgeon that is reputable and experienced, like Dr. John Goosey.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Goosey today!