Cataracts are a degenerative form of eye disease in which the lens gradually becomes opaque and vision mists over.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Painless blurring of vision
- Frequent prescription changes for corrective lenses
- Glare and haloes
- Colors looking dull and brownish
- Poor night vision
- Both sensitivity to light and finding lighting too dim
What are the causes?
While cataracts can occur as the result of other eye diseases, they mostly develop due to age. In fact, it is believed that everyone would have cataracts if we lived long enough. Currently, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness among adults in the United States.
Less common causes of cataracts include:
- Associated birth defects
- Chronic disease, such as diabetes
- Excessive use of steroid medications
- Eye Injury
How can it be treated?
While there is no way to prevent cataracts, there are several things you can do to limit or slow their formation. For instance, unstable molecules, known as free radicals, can damage cells in the eye, potentially causing problems such as cataracts. Studies have shown that antioxidant vitamins and minerals may help combat free radicals you may want to try the Bausch & Lomb Ocuvite® vitamins. Ask your physician or eye care professional whether vitamin supplements are right for you. Also, protecting your eyes from strong sunlight may slow the formation of age-related cataracts.
There are no medications, eyedrops, exercises, or glasses that will cause cataracts to disappear. However, they can be successfully treated with surgery.
What are my surgical options?
Today you have two options; a standard monofocal IOL or an accommodating lens.
A standard monofocal IOL is fixed at one point of focus, usually distance. With a standard monofocal lens you will probably need glasses for most activities.
Or you can choose an accommodating lens such as the Crystalens®. Crystalens is an accommodating intraocular lens that, unlike a standard IOL, can treat both a person’s cataracts and presbyopia- loss of near and intermediate vision. You probably noticed in your forties that you started to lose some of your up-close vision and had to start wearing reading glasses. Crystalens not only treats your cataracts (a clouding or hardening of your lens), but can also reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses. It does so by recreating accommodation similar to your eye’s natural lens. The unique Crystalens can reduce or eliminate glasses for most activities including: reading a book, working on the computer, and driving a car.
Visit crystalens.com to learn more about cataract surgery.
Photo courtesy of National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.