One in five adults aged 65 and above has cataracts. This disease is an expected outcome of growing old. If you live long enough, you will likely develop this condition when your ordinarily clear eye lens turns cloudy. Fortunately, your eyes can clear again by removing cataracts through surgery.
A cataract is a cloudy area on the eye’s usually clear lens. Because of the clouding, light rays can’t pass through the lens and focus on the retina, gradually making it harder and harder to see. The cloudiness occurs when the protein making up the lens changes structure. Many get cataracts in both eyes.
They aren’t usually a problem in the early stage since they affect only a part of the lens. But over time, the cataract grows larger and larger, affecting more parts of the lens and making it harder for light to pass through. When light doesn’t pass through and reach the retina, it will be harder for you to see, with your vision blurry and dull.
People with cataracts say it’s like looking through a dirty window. Even worse, their vision never gets better, not without surgery. Over time, it won't be easy to perform routine tasks. There are many types of cataracts, such as age-related, congenital, secondary, and traumatic cataracts.
Experts are unsure what causes cataracts, but the possible causes include smoking, diuretics and steroids, diabetes, too much sunlight, and some major tranquilizers. People who are more likely to develop cataracts are those between the age of 40 and 50. You’re also at risk if you live in high-altitude places and spend too much time in the sun.
Treatment Options for Cataracts
Surgery is the only way to restore clear vision if you have cataracts. The ophthalmologist will remove the clouded lens during surgery, replacing it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL. This lens stays permanently, allowing you to see clearly like natural lenses. It also has the benefit of correcting refractive errors, so you don’t need glasses or contacts too much.
There are two types of cataract surgery: traditional and laser.
Traditional Cataract Surgery
This procedure involves making a small cut in your eye. After making the incision, the doctor breaks up the cataract using ultrasound. The surgeon then removes broken-down cataracts and replaces them with the IOL. Most patients who undergo this treatment can see distances again. Since it’s a common treatment, most insurance plans cover it.
This innovative cataract surgery uses a femtosecond laser. It utilizes high-energy light beams with superfast pulses, capable of making incisions and softening cataracts. With its precise incision, this laser makes it much easier to remove cataracts. It is often recommended if you want a specific type of intraocular lens. It’s a great option because it also corrects astigmatism.
Treatment depends on the condition of your cataracts. Your doctor will have an in-depth discussion of this with you, considering your preferences and needs.
Learn more about cataracts with Clarke Eyecare Center. Book an appointment by calling us at 940-905-0700, or visit our Wichita Falls, Texas, clinic. You can also contact us at 940-569-4131 or visit us at our Burkburnett, Texas, office.