When you take a photo, you focus the lens of your camera to capture a clear image. Without this feature, your picture would turn out blurry. Now picture this: the lens on a camera is comparable to the lens in your eye. Your eye’s internal lens controls light rays that come into your eye and allow you to see clearly. When you have a cataract, it clouds the image in your eye and causes your sight to be blurry. In this blog, we will discuss how you can eliminate cataracts with cataract surgery.
What Causes Cataracts?
Did you know that your risk of cataracts increases with each decade of your life beginning around age 40? In fact, the National Eye Institute (NIH) projects that by 2050, the number of citizens in the U.S. with cataracts will double from 24.4 million to 50 million. While most cataract cases are typically a result of aging, there are other of reasons you can develop cataracts:
- Hereditary- It is important to be aware of your family’s medical history. Your risk of developing cataracts may be higher if other members of your family have had cataracts.
- Previous Medical Problems- Medical conditions such as diabetes can lead to cataracts. Diabetes can not only damage the heart and kidneys, but it can damage the small blood vessels in your eyes.
- Unhealthy Habits- Research has found that heavy smokers are three times more likely to develop cataracts than nonsmokers.
- Damage from UV Rays- Spending long hours in the sun without proper eye protection can lead to eye damage such as cataracts and cancerous growths.
What is Cataract Surgery?
Eye-sight is one of your most important senses. Cataracts are not only disruptive to your ability to see the beauty of life around you, but they are detrimental to your quality of life and overall well-being. Cataract surgery is currently the only way to eliminate a cataract and restore your vision. There are over three million cataract procedures that are performed every year in the U.S. How does it work? Let’s break it down:
- Opthamologists will begin the procedure by administering a local anesthetic and numbing the eye completely.
- Using a microscope, the surgeon will make a small incision to open the eye, providing access to the cataract.
- The cloudy cataract is removed and replaced with an artificial lens implant.
- The intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted into the eye during cataract surgery. There are many types of IOLs. Your doctor will help you choose which one is right for you.
- The surgery is completed once the doctors close the incision.
At Everett & Hurite, our ophthalmologists specialize in two common types of surgical procedures that treat cataracts:
- Phacoemulsification or Phaco- Ultrasound waves are used to break down the cataract and remove it from your eye through a process known as Aspiration. It is the most common form of treatment for cataracts.
- Extracapsular Cataract Extraction- This procedure involves removing the cataract and lens from the eye and replacing them with an artificial lens implant. Although the recovery process following this treatment method takes around a month, vision is restored within one or two days after the surgery.
Cataract Symptoms: Do I Need Cataract Surgery?
Cataract symptoms may not always be obvious. That is why it is important to stay on top of any changes in your vision that affect your ability to see. Cataracts often develop gradually during the later stages of your life and people become accustomed to the changes without realizing the decline in vision.. If you are experiencing any of the following cataract symptoms, it may be time to consider cataract surgery:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Seeing halos around lights
- Double vision in one eye
- Fading colors
What Can You Do: Minimizing the Progression of Cataracts
While there is no scientific evidence that supports the prevention of cataracts, you can maintain your eye health by implementing these lifestyle changes:
- Eat nutrient-rich foods- A healthy diet is not only beneficial to your overall health, but also for your eye health. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, selenium, and vitamins C and E can keep your eyes healthy.
- Avoid smoking- While we often attribute smoking to lung and heart health, it can also cause detrimental effects to your eyesight. In addition to cataracts, smoking can lead to other eye issues such as dry eye syndrome.
- Wearing sunglasses- Protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays (UV) light rays emitted by the sun. Ophthalmologists recommend sunglasses with anti-UV coating.
- Frequent eye exams- Do not wait for eye problems to develop. Visit the experienced ophthalmologists at Everett & Hurite for routine comprehensive eye exams to stay ahead of your eye health.
At Everett & Hurite, we are here to assist you in providing both accurate diagnoses and treatment options for cataracts. Looking for ‘cataract surgery near me’? Our experienced care team has opthamologists who specialize in cataract surgery. If you are considering cataract surgery, our specialists can provide you with cataract evaluation, cataract treatment, and post-surgical cataract care. Schedule your appointment today or call (412)-288-0858 for more information.