Cataracts are a lot more common than you might think.
In fact, by the age of 80, more than half of all Americans will have developed cataracts in their eyes.
So if you suspect that you, a family member, or a friend might be dealing with cataracts right now, you don’t need to be alarmed. There’s a chance that you won’t even need to have the cataracts removed unless they are currently causing problems with your vision.
Here at Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York, we understand that there are many people out there who are confused about what cataracts are, where they come from, how they can identify them, and what to do if you have them.
We want to put your mind at ease and show you that if you do have cataracts, there are simple solutions available. Let’s take a closer look at the truth behind cataracts.
What Are Cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens that exists within your eye. The lens is located behind your iris and pupil, and it’s responsible for refracting – or bending – light rays that enter your eye, which allows you to see.
The lens in your eye should be clear at all times. But when a cataract develops, your lens gets cloudy, and it can prevent light rays from entering your eye. This can, at times, make it difficult for you to see, and can even lead to blindness if cataracts get bad enough.
There are several different types of cataracts that can affect people.
- For example, subcapsular cataracts form near the back of the lens and they often affect those who have diabetes or take very high doses of medications containing steroids.
- A nuclear cataract, on the other hand, usually forms in the center of the lens and is closely associated with old age.
An ophthalmologist at Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York can look closely at your eyes and identify potential cataracts and offer more information on the type you may have and the options available to you.
How Do Cataracts Form?
At first, a cataract will start out being very small and it may not have any impact at all on your vision. You may even find that you can see just fine despite the presence of a cataract.
- Some of the earliest indications may be occasional blurred vision or experiencing normal daylight from the sun as seeming to be overly bright for you.
- Those with early cataract symptoms may even struggle to identify certain colors.
Most indications are very subtle, which is what makes identifying cataracts difficult at the beginning.
Over time, though, cataracts can get significantly worse, and once they get really bad, it will be difficult to see at all.
Cataracts form as a result of the protein that exists in the lens of your eye. The lens is made up of water and protein, and as you get older, these proteins can clump up in your eye and cause the cloudiness that those with cataracts experience. The cataract that forms can grow larger and larger until you go completely blind in one of your eyes.
You can prevent your condition from worsening by seeing an ophthalmologist at Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York at the first sign of a cataract forming.
There are a number of symptoms you may experience when dealing with cataracts.
- Cloudy or blurred vision is the most obvious one.
- Having difficulty seeing at night or an increased sensitivity to bright light are also common symptoms.
However, there are other symptoms to look out for when it comes to cataracts.
- You may notice “halos” around light sources when you have a cataract.
- You may also find that you need stronger prescriptions more often for your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
- Some cataract patients have also reported double vision in one of their eyes as the mind struggles to put together what the eyes are transmitting to the brain.
If you are dealing with any of these symptoms, you may have cataracts. An ophthalmologist at Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York can evaluate your eyes for signs of them and advise you on the next steps.
To check your eyes for cataracts, an ophthalmologist at Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York will perform a comprehensive eye exam.
- A visual acuity test will be done to see how well you can see different letters and objects from a distance.
- A dilated eye exam will be done to check the condition of your retina and optic nerve for any issues with your lens or the other parts of your eye.
- Finally, tonometry will be used to measure the pressure that exists in your eye.
Through these three steps, we can figure out whether or not you are dealing with cataracts.
Do you think you might be dealing with cataracts? It’s a good idea to have your eyes checked out by an ophthalmologist at Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York as soon as possible.
If you do have a cataract, we can tell you about your options. In some cases, we may decide that it’s best to wait and not do anything at the moment, or we may decide that you need to have cataract surgery, which will help improve your vision almost instantly and help you regain the full use of your sight.
No matter what, our goal is the same – to help you and your eyes get better.
Call Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York at 716-632-3545 today to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist.