Cataracts are very common in America, involving millions of people each year. You may not notice a cataract at first, but over time, it will worsen to the point where it interferes with your vision, making it more difficult to read, drive, or use your computer. By definition, a cataract is a cloudy covering that affects the normally clear lens in your eye, and it may be caused by several things. If you think you may have developed a cataract, Vision Source Family Eye Care in Brunswick may be able to treat it. Contact us today for a consultation.
What Causes Cataracts?
Many circumstances may contribute to cataracts. In most instances, people develop them as they age. Being overweight, having diabetes, or smoking may increase your chances of developing them. But there are other common causes as well. They include:
High blood pressure
Trauma to your eye
Previous eye surgeries
Long-term use of steroids
Some people are genetically prone to developing cataracts, and some infants are born with them. Regardless how they came to develop, they can interfere with your daily responsibilities in a big way. For this reason, frequent visits to your eye doctor is recommended. Your eye care specialist may be able to diagnose and treat cataracts before they become major concerns.
Is There More Than One Type of Cataract?
There are several types of cataracts. Each affects a different portion of the eye, and each comes with its own set of symptoms. Types of cataracts include:
Nuclear Cataracts: These affect the center of the lens. Over time, this area of the lens begins to turn yellow or brown, and one of the first symptoms may be problems distinguishing between colors.
Cortical Cataracts: Cortical cataracts form along the outer edges of the lens, sending wedge-shaped, opaque areas toward the center. Eventually, these white-colored streaks begin to block the light entering the eye, and vision becomes spotty.
Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts: Cataracts like these form in the back of the lens. They begin as tiny, opaque patches that block light. Symptoms include seeing halos around lights at night and trouble reading.
Congenital Cataracts: This term describes a type of cataract that is present at birth or that forms early in childhood. It’s often caused by an infection when the child is still in the uterus, or it may be genetic.
Most types of cataracts are easily treated in your vision specialist’s office. If you’re developing any of the symptoms listed above, call your eye doctor right away.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
Your eye doctor will perform several tests to determine whether you need treatment for cataracts. They may prescribe contact lenses or eyeglasses to help clear your vision. But if these fail to work, then surgery is the only option. Cataract surgery is a simple procedure that’s usually performed on an outpatient basis, meaning there’s no prolonged hospital stay needed for recovery. Generally, you’ll return home the same day you have the surgery. While you may feel some discomfort in the first few days, healing will happen over the next few weeks.
Cataract surgery usually involves removing the lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens. This removes all traces of the cataract and may restore your vision. If circumstances prevent your surgeon from removing the lens, they’ll remove the cataract instead. This will improve your vision, but you may still need glasses to see clearly.
Can I Prevent Cataracts?
Simple lifestyle changes may help you prevent the formation of cataracts. These include maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, not smoking, and not drinking to excess. If you have a chronic disorder such as diabetes, do your best to manage it, and see your eye doctor regularly. It’s also helpful to wear sunglasses when you’re going to be out in the sun for prolonged periods of time.
If you’ve recently noticed changes in your vision and suspect you may have cataracts, contact Vision Source Family Eye Care in Brunswick, St. Marys, or Jesup, GA today. We’re a go-to office for all your family eye care needs in Georgia, including cataract screenings. Our friendly and professional staff is waiting to take your call and schedule an appointment that fits conveniently into your schedule, so give us a call today.