A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye that leads to a decrease in vision. Left untreated, it is the most common cause of blindness and is conventionally treated with surgery. Vision loss occurs because opacification of the lens obstructs light from passing through and being focused on to the retina at the back of the eye.
Dr. Flohr and Dr. Harrel are our board certified ophthalmologists that each have over 25 years of experience. “Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide; however, in most cases, vision loss from cataracts is reversible. New techniques developed over the past decade have made cataract surgery one of the safest and most successful procedures available in terms of restoring quality of life to patients,” says Dr. Harrell.
Each year there are more than 1.6 million of these delicate eye surgeries performed in the United States.
“There are no drugs or exercises that will make a cataract disappear, and contrary to popular belief, cataracts are not removed using lasers. Lasers are used in follow-up procedures, if needed. Cataract surgery is most often done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia,” says Dr. Flohr “The cloudy natural lens can be replaced with an artificial lens to give the eye proper focusing power. In most cases, the improvement in the patient’s vision is profound. In fact, thanks to new multifocal lenses that can now be chosen as an upgrade to your cataract surgery allow you to focus near & far! Allowing many patients to be glasses free after cataract surgery!
What Causes Cataracts?
The most common cause of cataracts is biological aging and overexposure to ultraviolet light. The lens lies behind the iris and pupil and works to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The rest of our eye structures work together to adjust and transmit images to the brain, which allows us to see objects and colors.
The lens is made of mostly water and proteins. The protein stays aligned in a way that the lens remains clear. As we age, this protein can clump together and become opaque. Much like trying to look through a foggy window, the clouding is what causes blurriness and difficulty seeing and is called a cataract.
While there is no guaranteed way to avoid cataracts, wearing eyewear and sunwear that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays can slow the onset as well as decrease the exposure to direct sunlight. Some potential signs of developing cataracts are; gradual painless blurring of vision, double vision in one eye, fading/yellowing of colors, sensitivity to glare and/or bright light, trouble driving at night, needing frequent changes to your glasses or contact lens prescriptions.
Treatment for cataracts is safe and effective. The most common form of treatment is surgery. In fact, by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract, or have cataract surgery. Cataract surgery replaces the lens inside an affected eye and restores your clear vision. Other treatment may be possible, but cataract surgery is common and very helpful for many people.
Our ophthalmologists have surgical privileges at 4 local hospitals, allowing you to choose for your convenience where you would prefer to have your outpatient cataract surgery done!
We understand what a big decision this is and want to help you with any questions you have. Please feel free to call our office with any questions and to schedule an appointment with our doctors to answer even further questions.