Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems in people over sixty. With annual eye exams at Cunningham Vision Care, we can warn you if we see the slightest hint of a cataract.
So what is a cataract? A cataract forms when clouding develops in the anatomical lens. This clouding blocks the passage of light and obstructs vision. Cataracts normally affect both eyes but can be worse in one eye or the other. The development takes place very slowly, gradually affecting the quality of your vision. Our doctors will be able to determine if and when surgery is necessary.
There are three types of cataracts:
- Nuclear cataract is most common and forms deep in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens. Nuclear cataracts are associated with aging.
- Cortical cataract is clouding from white, wedge-like opacities that start in the periphery of the lens and work their way to the center; occurs in the lens cortex surrounding the central nucleus.
- Subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medications have a greater risk of development.
Knowing more about cataracts will arm you with information that can save your vision. The first line of defense is to see one of our highly experienced eye doctors annually for your regular eye exam, which includes a cataract evaluation. Using our state-of-the-art equipment, we can see deep into your eyes and track the progress if we see any signs of early cloudiness. Symptoms and attributes you can watch for include:
- One of the most striking symptoms of cataracts is blurred vision.
- Cataracts increase glare from sunlight and other lights, especially when driving at night; oncoming headlights will look too bright causing glare and making you squint or close your eyes.
- Colors may not appear as bright and clear
Why Do I Have a Cataract?
Most commonly, aging causes the proteins in your lens to form a cluster, thereby clouding the lens. With time this cluster increases in size obstructing your vision. Researchers are working diligently to find out why we get them, but oxidative stress and diet do have something to do with it, along with these other reasons:
- Ultraviolet rays from sunlight and other sources
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Significant alcohol consumption
- High myopia
- Family history
Will My Cataract Go Away?
One of the greatest consolations if you’re suffering from a cataract is that there is cataract vision treatment! It can be removed surgically at any stage without complication, restoring your complete vision. To decide the best course of action, start by getting a thorough eye exam and then make a vision treatment plan with your Cunningham Vision Care specialist at either our Chesterfield or St. Charles area locations.
Our eye doctors are cataract vision treatment experts who can help you understand which type of cataract you have, how severe it is, and what your options are for treatment. Together, you and your optometrist will make a vision treatment plan and keep watch for changes. He or she will help you decide when to have cataracts removal surgery and provide you with interim solutions and ways to manage the condition until you are ready to undergo surgery.
Cataract Vision Treatment & Surgery
Based on your specific cataract condition, along with guidance from your Cunningham Vision Care eye doctor, you should evaluate and decide whether you need cataract surgery or if you can cope without. Depending on the stage and type of your cataract, the growth may stop on its own after a certain time. In such cases surgery may not be necessary.
We recommend being faithful to your annual eye exam and believe it is vital to get expert, professional guidance. Taking proper care of your eyes is serious business – you only get one pair; making educated decisions on your cataract vision treatment and removal surgery is important.
Contact us today to schedule your eye exam appointment or for a cataract specific consultation with one of our specialized optometrists. We have evening and weekend hours in our Chesterfield and St. Charles area offices for your convenience.