As an ophthalmologist who has treated many people for cataracts, Dr. Croley frequently answers questions asked by patients who are unaware of the nuances of this condition. Here, we turn the tables. What do you know about cataracts?
Do You Know
- That cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world? Cataracts form from tiny deposits of protein that accumulate on the natural lens of the eye. Over time, small clumps of protein grow larger and larger. At some point, the clouding of the lens can completely obstruct vision in the affected eye. Not everyone gets cataracts in both eyes at the same time.
- If you are at risk of getting cataracts? Cataracts are often viewed as a problem that affects the elderly. This may be because it can take years for vision to become significantly impaired. Studies indicate that half of Americans may have cataracts by age 65. Some begin to show signs of this condition while still in their forties. Risk factors for developing cataracts include exposure to UV light, diabetes, eye injury, high blood pressure, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
- The signs of cataracts? The early signs of cataracts may be discreet and go unnoticed. They include poor night vision, seeing halos around lights, fading color perception, and double vision. With routine eye exams, the presence of cataracts can be spotted earlier rather than later.
- That cataract removal is a simple outpatient procedure? The good news about cataracts is that vision can be restored by replacing the clouded lens with an ultra-thin, synthetic intraocular lens. Cataract surgery typically takes less than an hour and there is only a short recovery period during which the eye may feel scratchy. During this time, vision may be slightly blurry or wavy as the eye and brain adjust to the new lens.
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed eye procedures. Treatment is customized to each patient to address not only clouding but also certain errors that make it difficult to see clearly at all distances.