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Understanding Cataracts

What are Cataracts?

Mature CataractA cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. The lens in your eye is responsible for focusing light rays on the retina, which is the part of the eye that senses light and transmits these images to the brain. When the natural lens becomes cloudy, light rays cannot pass through and vision quality is diminished. Many people describe this sensation as looking through a piece of wax paper or a foggy window.

Developing cataracts is part of the normal aging process, and as the cataract develops, individuals find that it becomes increasingly difficult to see.

What are Common Causes of Cataracts?

  • Age (most common)
  • Diseases such as diabetes
  • Radiation exposure
  • Medications such as steroids, often seen in treatment of allergies (e.g., Flonase or Nasonex)
  • Injuries or accidents
  • Exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Cigarette Smoking

How Do I Know if I Have a Cataract?

You may be experiencing cataracts if your vision is foggy or blurry, colors appear dull or less sharp than you once remember, or if your eyes hurt when you go out in the sun. Because cataracts typically progress gradually over time, it may take you a while to realize how much deterioration has actually occurred.

Cataract ComparisonInitial symptoms of cataract development often include glare or “starburst” vision at night and/or the frequent need to change your glasses prescription. At this stage in cataract development, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can often help you deal with vision problems. As cataracts progress, you may feel unsafe while driving (particularly at night), or even fail a vision test when renewing your driver’s license. You may also feel like you can’t get your glasses clean or the prescription is constantly wrong. If impaired vision from cataracts starts to affect your normal lifestyle, you might wish to proceed with cataract surgery.

Fortunately, cataract removal is one of the safest, most common and effective surgical procedures performed today. If you think you may have cataracts, schedule an appointment with Dr. Walter to confirm your diagnosis and to explore your surgical options.

To learn more about Cataracts and Cataract Surgery, please click on the links below.

 Cataract Surgery  Laser Cataract Surgery  Lens Implants