Cataracts are extremely common. The vast majority of the population will experience this sight threatening condition at one point or another in their lives. The best way to guard yourself against the negative effects of this extremely common condition is to be as informed as possible about what it means to have a cataract, what the symptoms are and what your treatment options are.
When you look at an object, light travels through the pupil of your eye and focuses through the lens onto the back of your eye, where there is a collection of light-sensitive cells, called the retina. “Just like breathing on the lens of a camera, fogging it up, a cataract is a clouding of the lens of your eye, making it harder for the lens to properly receive and focus incoming light. This can seriously affect your ability to see,” explains Dr. Johan Tran of Healthy Eye Center in Huntington Beach, California.
The lens, which is mostly water and protein, hardens over time. This hardening is, in itself, a normal part of aging. However, a cataract may occur as a result of hardened protein forming clumps that cloud some areas, reducing the clarity of the lens and harming your ability to see. Although cataracts are generally linked to old age, other factors including previous eye disease or eye surgery, chronic disease, diabetes, and eye injuries are all strongly linked to cataracts and may cause you to develop a cataract well before reaching old age.
Cataracts present many symptoms, ranging from painless, blurry vision, or faded or yellowed colors, to double vision within a single eye. Dr. Tran adds,“Increased difficulty seeing at night or in dim lighting, is another serious symptom, which can be easily overlooked. People often think that it is natural to have difficulty seeing in the dark.”
The only way to treat cataracts is through surgical removal of the cataract. In some cases, clouding is minimal and vision is hardly effected, and a slight change in eyeglasses prescription may be a good solution to avoid surgery and maintain reasonable vision. If clouding affects the whole or a large part of the lens, however, sight is severely hindered and surgery becomes unavoidable. In cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens. The surgery is normally done as an outpatient procedure and does not require an overnight stay.
Pre- and post-op care are extremely important in cases in which surgery is necessary. Your Huntington Beach optometrist and eye surgeon should be in constant communication as to your treatment before and after surgery, to be sure that you receive the best care.
For further information, contact Dr. Johan Tran at Healthy Eye Center today.