Cataracts: What You Need To Know
Brace yourself; you will eventually get cataracts. Everyone does, regardless of age, gender, and race. This eye disorder afflicts nearly half of all Americans reaching the big 80. And if you don’t have it by 80, you almost certainly will before 90. Many Americans are don’t know to the myriad adverse effects cataracts will bring, nor what the treatment options are.
The good news? You don’t have to live with cataracts.
What is a Cataract?
An eye is much like a camera. For one, it has a lens that focuses radiant light onto the retina at the back of the eye.
Much like a camera, an eye cannot function rightly if there any malfunction in the lens. When eye’s lens becomes opaque or cloudy, light cannot reach the retina, and our vision becomes distorted or blurred. And that is what cataract is: the clouding of an eye’s lens.
A cataract is a natural decline in the function and color of the lens; the human lens that we’ve had our whole lives. It generally starts occurring in our 50s and we begin to notice it in terms of difficulty reading. It really starts to become problematic in our mid-60s to 70s where it begins to affect our night vision and visual performance for day-to-day activities.
How Cataracts Form
Your eye’s lens is comprised of two dominant elements: water and protein. As we age some of these constituent proteins (along with water) are poised to precipitate – to clump together – causing lens’s clouding. It’s that simple. Lenses should be clear and transparent. A cataract is formed when the lens becomes cloudy and yellowish.
Though aging is the prime culprit in most cataracts cases, there are other causes of cataracts, as well. Diabetes, for instance, can lead to cataracts. You can develop cataracts years after an eye injury. Prolonged exposure to radiation and uncontrolled steroid use can cause cataracts. Lifestyle indulgences like debauchery and heavy smoking are other familiar causes of cataracts. Regardless of cause, though, everyone will eventually get a cataract.
Corrective Surgeries for Cataracts
Modern cataract surgery is safe, and we perform the procedure at Kameen Eye Associates. Cataract surgery is most often performed on patients in their 60s or older who have already developed a formal cataract.
But there is a newer procedure that is appropriate for younger patients who exhibit the beginning stages of Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome, but have not yet progressed to a full-on cataract. The procedure called Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) both corrects vision (like LASIK) and eliminates the inevitable need for cataract surgery later in life. A very advanced implantable lens is put in the place of your eye’s original lens. This new lens corrects distance vision, corrects astigmatism, and corrects reading difficulties as well. It’s a permanent lens and the patient will not develop a cataract again.
Both procedures, cataract surgery and RLE, are performed safely with advanced lasers to access the eye.
You don’t have to wait until you have a cataract to do something about it. Don’t miss out on a life without glasses. Even if you have an astigmatism, find out if you are a candidate for laser eye surgery at Kameen Eye Associates.