The natural lens of the eye is made mostly of water and protein. In a healthy, young eye, the protein is normally clear and permits light to pass through. As we age, the protein can clump, discolor, and begin to cloud the lens, forming a cataract.
Studies show that:
- More than ½ of Americans over the age of 65 will undergo cataract surgery
- Cataract surgery is one of the safest, most commonly performed surgeries in the United States
- More than 3 million Americans have the procedure each year
Symptoms of Cataracts
You do not have to be a senior citizen to have cataracts; cataracts eventually affect everyone. They are the result of the eye’s lenses becoming tinted, hazy, and cloudy as we age past 40. Although usually at this stage they are not serious enough to have a significant effect on your vision.
As cataracts progress, the symptoms become more noticeable with common complaints of dull colors, glare, and problems with night vision. Cataracts will gradually limit the ability to perform simple and basic tasks such as reading, driving, seeing road signs, and even exercising.
Symptoms of Cataracts Include:
- Blurred or cloudy vision
- Colors appear faded or dull
- Lamps such as headlights or streetlights may have glare or halos; sunlight or fluorescent lights may appear too bright.
- Poor night vision
- Double or multiple vision in one eye
- Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses
Important Note: These symptoms can indicate other eye problems that may also result in blindness if left untreated.
If you have any of these symptoms, please make an appointment with Dr. Lipstock for a complete eye examination.
Solutions for Cataracts:
- Continued observation
- Stronger glasses prescription
- Eventually you will need to have a surgical cataract removal
As cataracts develop, most doctors will continue to monitor your cataracts until they are ready for surgery. You will probably need to have stronger glasses prescribed until it is time for surgery, and eventually, surgery will become necessary. Cataracts don’t get better; they get worse over time, and surgery is the only way to regain vision loss from cataracts. Usually, when a patient can no longer read the 20/40 line with their glasses – the line required by the DMV – surgery is recommended.
A good rule of thumb of when to get cataract surgery is when the visual difficulties due to the cataract begin to interfere with activities that you like or need to do.
Watch Linda’s cataract experience with Dr. Lipstock: