What is a Cataract? Next item What is Glaucoma?

What is a Cataract?

In case you missed it, September was Healthy Aging Month. In honor of this, we brought you some information on age-related eye health conditions all month.

Our final installment is about cataracts, read about it below!

What is a Cataract?

To explain what a cataract is you must first think about your eyes like a camera. Just like a camera, our eyes have a lens that helps us record or view images and focus in on things up close or far away.

With a camera, the lens is on the front and outside of the device, but with our eyes, the lens lies behind the iris (the colored part of our eyes) and the pupil.

The lens in our eyes has a very specific layout of proteins that allow light to pass through for your eyes to be able to see clearly.

A cataract happens when a build-up of proteins blocks part of the lens of our eye, reducing sharpness and causing cloudy vision.

Here’s What You Need to Know:
  • Cataracts are more common in the older population
    • They can start to develop as early as 40-50, but often due to size don’t begin affecting vision until someone reaches 60
    • More than half of Americans are expected to have developed or been treated for cataracts by the age of 80
  • Cataracts can occur in just one eye or both
    • However, a cataract cannot spread from one eye to the other
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
  • Blurry or Cloudy Vision
  • Colors appear faded
  • Poor Night Vision
  • You might experience a halo around headlights or streetlights, lamps or sunlight
    • Lights can seem too bright
  • Double Vision
  • Frequent Prescription Changes
Who’s At Risk?
  • Seniors
    • As we age the fibers in the lens of our eye begin to break down and clump together blocking light from entering our eyes and causing cloudy vision
  •  Diabetics
    • Certain diseases such as Diabetes can increase your risk of developing cataracts, unchecked sugar lens can lead to increased protein build-up and swelling in the lens of your eye causing blurry vision
  • Smokers
    • It’s believed that smoking can oxidize the cells of the lens of your eye causing changes
  • Sun-worshipers
    • Too much exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can damage the lens of our eyes
What Treatment Options are Available?
  • In the early stages the symptoms of cataracts are reduced by the following:
    • New Eyeglasses
    • Anti-glare Sunglasses
    • Bright Lighting
    • Magnifying lenses
  • When the Cataract reaches a point where it is obstructing vision then surgery will be discussed
    • Comprehensive Eye Exams and close monitoring with your Optometrist will determine when you have reached this stage
      • If you are to complete surgery you will be referred to a specialist to complete the surgery on the affected eye(s)

Regular screening through comprehensive eye exams with an eye doctor is the best way to diagnose and treat cataracts!

If you think yourself or someone you love may have cataracts or have other eye health-related questions book an appointment with our Doctor of Optometry today! Click here.

We are primarily a Jacksonville Optometrist who provides full comprehensive eye exams as well as glasses prescriptions. Also a convenient Optometrist to Nocatee, St. John’s, St. Augustine, and Fruit Cove! We offer online appointment booking available for your convenience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

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