Trying to see through cataracts can sometimes feel like viewing the world through a cloud -- a cloud that distorts vision and, over time, can even rob you of that vision entirely. But this extremely common eye problem, while irreversible, can be monitored and treated to ensure that you retain optimal eyesight for many years to come. Our optometrists at Wear Eyewear can watch for cataract formation, track a cataract's progress carefully, and make a number of recommendations to help you fight back against it.
A cataract is an abnormality in the way the proteins of your eye's lens are arranged. These proteins are present even in a perfectly clear lens, but they normally maintain space between them so light can shine through unimpeded. But if these proteins start to clump together, the transparency is gradually replaced by a milky or cloudy area that blocks or alters incoming light. Symptoms of a cataract include:
Strange halo-like patterns around lights
Changes in the way you perceive colors
Reduced night vision
Cataracts strike over 24 million Americans after the age of 40, afflicting the majority of people aged 80 or older. As these numbers imply, the most common type of cataracts, nuclear cataracts (so named because they form in the center of the lens), is age related, progressing slowly over many years. UV exposure and smoking can accelerate cataract development. Cortical cataracts (which grow from the edge of the lens toward the center) and subcapsular cataracts (which start toward the rear of the lens) are associated with diabetes and/or steroid use. Children can even be born with cataracts.
If our optometry team detects a cataract in progress during a comprehensive eye exam, we will evaluate its effect on your vision (which, in early stages, may be negligible). We will then recommend annual follow-ups so we can monitor the growth rate of your cataract and re-check your visual acuity. Lifestyle and medication changes may also be recommended to help slow the cataract's growth. Regular corrective lens updates can often compensate adequately for the changes to your vision. If a cataract reaches the point where we can no longer correct for it, we can refer you for a quick, easy, painless operation to remove it and replace it with an artificial substitute, thus restoring your vision to its former clarity. We will also co-manage this procedure, from pre-operative preparations to post-operative check-ups.
Whether your vision is starting to suffer from an existing cataract or you're simply worried about catching this problem as early as possible, Wear Eyewear can help you get clarity on this clouding of the eye. Call our Chicago or Orland Park office to schedule an eye exam and learn more about your cataract treatment options!