A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. Your natural lens, much like the lens of a camera, allows light from the outside world to focus on the retina. The natural lens starts out clear and clouds with age. Risk factors for cataracts include age, family history, smoking, UV light exposure from the sun, diabetes, eye injuries, eye surgery, radiation and certain medications. A rarer type of cataract, congenital cataracts, are present at birth and can occur for many different reasons including infections and inherited conditions.
As you develop cataracts you may experience blurry or hazy vision, trouble seeing at night, glare and halos, faded or yellow tinted colors, sensitivity to light and seeing double or shadow images.
Although cataracts naturally occur due to the aging of your lens, you can reduce your risk of cataract formation or delay the onset of symptomatic cataracts by wearing sunglasses with 100% UV blockage and by quitting smoking. Good nutrition also plays an important role in cataract prevention, so consider increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Your ophthalmologist or optometrist may diagnose your cataracts, but only an ophthalmologist (eye medical doctor and surgeon) can treat the condition. Your ophthalmologist will perform a complete eye exam including dilation of your pupils to examine the cataract and the back of your eye.
If you have cataracts, some lifestyle modifications may help like using bright direct light when reading and avoiding night driving. If the symptoms are affecting your daily activities, your ophthalmologist will recommend cataract surgery. There are no medications or supplements that treat cataracts.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common, safest and most effective surgeries in the world. Performed in an outpatient surgery center and using a specialized microscope, a small incision is made by blade or laser. The cataract is broken up with an ultrasonic probe and a new lens is implanted. Patients who have traditional cataract surgery (which is often covered by insurance) will most likely have to wear corrective lenses after surgery in order to obtain their very best vision.
Refractive cataract surgery typically involves the implantation of an advanced technology lens implant during surgery. These lenses can correct astigmatism or allow for improved range of vision. Refractive cataract surgery is ideal for patients interested in decreasing their dependence on glasses. While a portion is typically not covered by insurance, there are multiple ways to achieve your best vision with less dependence on glasses in an affordable and convenient way including zero interest financing. Contact us to discuss your options!
In specific situations, laser assisted cataract surgery may have advantages especially if you choose an advanced technology lens implant or if you have astigmatism. During laser assisted cataract surgery, a special camera maps your lens and the surface of your eye. A laser is then used to make incisions in the cornea to decrease your astigmatism. In addition it can be used to do some of the steps of cataract surgery such as opening your lens capsule and softening your cataract. Utilizing the laser to decrease your astigmatism or utilizing the laser with advanced technology lenses is not a covered benefit with insurances. However, as with refractive cataract surgery, we offer options for qualified patients including zero interest financing. For a detailed cataract evaluation and discussion of your options, schedule a consultation with us today!
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