There are lots of conditions that can threaten the sense that we rely on the most – our sight. However, there is one that is more likely to cause vision loss than any other. This is cataracts. Cataracts are believed to affect around 24 million Americans over the age of 40, and by 80, it is estimated as more than half of Americans will either have cataracts or will have previously undergone surgery to resolve them. Unfortunately, there currently remains no cure for the condition. However, the good news is that there are treatments that can enable you to manage the condition and to restore your vision if it becomes too adversely affected.
Our experienced eye care team understands how debilitating cataracts can be. Not only can they obtain an accurate diagnosis early on in the condition if you attend your regularly scheduled eye exams, they can also ensure that every step is taken to preserve your vision for as long as possible. Cataracts appointments are held right here at our optometry center in Miami Gardens, FL
Cataracts are clouded portions of the natural lens of the eye. This is the transparent dome that covers the front part of the eye and is responsible for refracting light onto the retina so that it can be turned into signals that tell the brain what we can see. These cloudy patches occur when proteins that naturally live in the eye begin to clump together. Normally, the protein is quite evenly spread across the lens, enabling light to pass through. However, as we get older age-related changes cause the protein to move around and group together, causing the cloudy patches that characterize cataracts.
Cataracts can appear in just one eye, but they normally appear in both. However, their rate of development can vary considerably. This means that it is usual for patients to see more clearly in one eye than the other. Nevertheless, the condition is progressive and if left untreated, your sight will worsen until you are classed as legally or totally blind.
Most people who develop cataracts liken the effect of the condition to looking through frosted glass. Their vision is blurred, and it becomes difficult to focus on objects no matter how close they are. Other sings of the condition include sensitivity to bright lights, seeing glare, colors look faded and you may find it hard to see properly in low light. The symptoms of cataracts will worsen alongside the development of the condition.
In the first instance, our team will work with you to slow the progression of your cataracts so that you can maintain your natural visual ability for longer. This may include making a variety of suggestions including protecting your eyes from extensive exposure to the sun, quitting smoking and changing your diet so that it includes more foods that are good for eye health. Keeping your blood sugar levels healthy and attending regular eye exams are also crucial. However, there is no way of preventing the progression of cataracts forever.
Virtually all patients with cataracts undergo surgery. In the past, patients were advised to wait until their cataracts were advanced before opting for surgical treatment. However, it is now known that doing so can increase the risk of complications. Therefore, you may be offered surgery fairly soon after your diagnosis. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries carried out in the United States, and it has a very high success rate. The process involves removing the natural, cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial alternative that cannot cloud over. The process is simple and fast, with most appointments taking less than an hour. It can take around 8 weeks for the patient’s eyes to heal and during this time, you can expect to have some blurred vision and to be required to use eye drops to keep infections at bay. Most patients choose to have surgery on one eye at a time so that they can be sure to have at least partially good vision whilst their other eye heals.
If you are concerned about cataracts and have further questions, please get in touch with our expert team at our offices in Miami Gardens, FL today.