& Cataract Vision
Having clear vision and seeing “normally” requires that light be able to pass throughout the optical structures of your eyes and properly focus on the retina. The two primary structures that are responsible for refracting, or bending light so that it can focus on the retina, are the cornea, which is the outermost clear curved “lens” that is visible when looking at your eye from a side view and the crystalline lens, which is located behind the colored part of the eye, or the iris, and is not directly visible. Both the cornea and the crystalline lens need to be perfectly clear in order for you to have good vision. If you are in good health and have not had chronic eye infections, inflammation or had any trauma to your eyes, the cornea is likely to maintain its clarity throughout your life. The crystalline lens however undergoes a number of changes that progress as we age. These aging changes can affect your vision.
Usually by about the time we reach the age of 40 years old, most of us begin to experience some of the visual effects that result from changes in the crystalline lens. Even if you have had “good eyes” and “normal vision” all your life, your vision is likely to begin to change in a number of ways. As we progress from our 40’s, to our 50’s and then our 60’s and beyond, the most obvious changes to our vision occurs as a result of these changes in the crystalline lens.
The two most common changes that occur in the crystalline lens are:
- A loss of flexibility, called presbyopia, which makes it harder to read and
- A loss of optical clarity, which can cause a cataract
What Is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens. The lens is behind the iris (the colored part of the eye), and helps to focus the image for clear vision. With age, and sometimes as a side effect of some medications, the lens becomes clouded with deposits. This clouding in the lens results in blurred vision. Cataracts Are Not:
- A film over the outside of the eye
- A result of eye overuse
While cataracts often affect both eyes, sometimes only one eye is affected. It is common for one cataract to be denser, resulting in poorer vision in one eye compared to the other.
Why Do Cataracts Form?
Most often, cataracts occur as a natural consequence of aging. Opacities form to a greater or lesser degree in everyone with age. A family history increases the risk of cataracts. Cataracts are also caused by:
- Some medical problems, like diabetes
- Direct injury to the eye
- Medications, such as eye drop, inhaled or oral steroids like prednisone
- Lifetime ultraviolet light exposure (sunlight)
- Previous internal eye surgery
How Do I Know If I Have A Cataract?
If you think you have a cataract you may experience one or more of the following common symptoms:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Lights may seem too bright with uncomfortable
- Glare may be troubling
- Car headlights may be too bright
- Haloes around lights at night
- Colors may be less intense or yellowed
- Night vision may be difficult
- You may experience shadowy images, double images or even multiple images
- You may seem to require frequent changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Your near vision may seem to temporarily improve
How Is A Cataract Detected?
How Are Cataracts Treated?
At first, it may be possible to simply change your glasses prescription to enjoy some improvement in vision as a cataract worsens. Eventually, a cataract can progress enough that surgery is necessary for better sight. Cataract surgery is done when you can no longer see well to do activities that you need or want to do. When driving or reading becomes difficult, or when recreation activities or employment is impaired due to cataracts, it is reasonable to have surgery. It is not possible to treat cataracts with medication. If you have cataracts in both eyes, our skilled surgeons will remove them one at a time in order to achieve the best possible results. Sometimes, it is necessary to remove a cataract even if it doesn’t seem to cause problems with your vision. This is the case if it prevents a thorough examination of the retina or optic nerve, or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
Advances in cataract surgery & lens implants allow us to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism-as well as the near vision focusing problem-presbyopia-with advanced technology lens implants. Near vision presbyopia correcting lens implants allow us to correct distance, near vision and everything in between to help patients achieve clear distance vision as well restore their normal range of vision without relying on eyeglasses, bifocals or reading glasses. At Eye Associates we offer advanced technology lens implants such as the AcrySof® IQ PanOptix™ Trifocal Lens Implant, the TECNIS Symfony, TECNIS Eyehance™ and TECNIS Synergy™ Lens Implants (IOL), the AcrySof™ IQ Vivity™ Extended Vision Intraocular Lens as well as providing lens implants for astigmatism including the AcrySof® Toric Lens Implant and the TECNIS Toric Lens Implant.