You’ve probably heard of cataracts, but how much do you really know about them? If eyesight is the most precious of all our five senses, it would only make sense that we understand the basics of the most common eye disease.
Cataracts are the world’s leading cause of blindness and affect 20.5 million Americans. By the time they are 70, over half of all Americans will have cataracts. No one is immune to this eye disease, and the best way to protect your eyes is to know the symptoms of cataracts, how to prevent them and the most common treatment options.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process, but certain factors like smoking and UV ray exposure can increase the risk of cataracts and speed their progression. Common symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision, double vision, seeing halos around objects, difficulty with distance vision and difficulty with night driving. As cataracts form, you will find that doing daily activities like reading, driving, and watching television will become increasingly difficult.
Most often, your ophthalmologist will see a cataract before you know it is there. Cataracts develop slowly, and it may be years until the cataract affects your vision enough to require treatment.
When your cataract starts affecting your daily activities, it is time to consider removing them. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States, and it has very low risk with very high rates of success. In cataract surgery, your surgeon will remove the deteriorated lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). There are many types of IOLs such as traditional, toric, multifocal and accommodating lenses.
When considering cataract surgery, there are several options. Traditional cataract surgery involves your surgeon using a hand-held blade made of diamond or metal to make an incision in the cornea to remove the cataract before inserting an IOL. Laser-assisted cataract surgery uses a femtosecond laser to make a precise incision using a surgical plan with a 3-D image of the eye. The cost of cataract surgery depends on many factors such as the type of surgery you choose, the variation of IOL you need, and even the geographic area in which you live.
Talk to your ophthalmologist about whether cataract surgery is a good option for you. Cataract surgery can restore vision and allow you to do activities that you never thought you would be able to enjoy again, so make an appointment today and get all of your questions answered.