(803) 985-3937 410 S. Herlong Ave Suite #103 Rock Hill, SC 29732

Cataracts: Symptoms and Surgery Options

Thursday September 2013  |  Leave a Comment

A cataract occurs as part of the normal aging process of the eye. It affects millions of people, and cataract removal is one of the most common surgeries done in the United States. Because cataracts can have a damaging effect on your vision, Dr. Nelson and Carolina Eye Cataract & Laser would like to share some information on how cataracts form, the various treatments that are available and a few steps to take better care of your eyes and vision.

What is a cataract?

Cataracts develop as the naturally clear lens inside the eye starts to become cloudy or discolored. The lens is located right behind the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. The lens bend light from images and puts it into focus. When light hits a cloudy area, it scatters. This creates blurry vision and glare with night driving.The blur and glare can become so severe that is becomes difficult to see. Usually this process occurs with aging, but other factors can cause cataracts to progress faster such as smoking, being exposed to UV sunlight, having diabetes or using corticosteroids for a prolonged amount of time.

What are the symptoms?

There are different types of cataracts, but there are common symptoms for each. Some patients might experience blurry vision; glare, night blindness, halos around lights (especially headlights) and starburst around lights are common too. Colors appear duller, dimmer or brown. You won’t feel any pain or discomfort and might not even realize you have a cataract developing until you see your doctor for at your annual exam.

Treatment Options-

Unfortunately, you can’t stop a cataract from developing and many cataracts may not be severe enough to require surgery when first diagnosed. In these cases, wearing protective sunglasses and not smoking can help slow the progression. Some studies show that Vitamin C and eating a well-balanced diet with good nutrition (focusing on green leafy vegetables), Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids can also be beneficial. Cataracts cannot be reversed or treated with medication or eye drops, but once you are diagnosed annual exams can help to monitor your vision changes.

When should I have cataract surgery?

A cataract may not need to be removed right away it is not bothersome in your day to day activities and updating your glasses prescription could be just as beneficial. When you have reached a point when your vision can’t be improved with glasses or contacts, ultimately at that, the only treatment is cataract surgery. It is a very simple and relatively painless procedure. Dr. Nelson makes a small 3 mm incision and removes your cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear intraocular (IOL) lens. There are a variety of different implant lens options. Some of these lenses, like ReSTOR, ReZoom and Tecnis are multifocal (or bifocal) lenses. They can help correct near, intermediate and distant vision. This can help eliminate the need for glasses. Another option is an accommodating lens called Crystalens, which flexes inside the capsule just like your natural lens. This lens offers excellent distance, intermediate and some added reading. Many patients have reported not needing readers at all after receiving the multifocal or accommodating lens.

Comments are closed.