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Eye Disorders: Cataract

A Cataract is an opacity or loss of clarity within the lens inside your eye. This loss of clarity reduces the amount of light that can pass through the eye to the retina (the light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye). A Cataract is generally thought of as a normal aging change, usually affecting those aged 60 and above. However, Cataracts are also found in younger people, and may even be congenital. Other causes of Cataracts include certain medications, injury or trauma, and/or excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful ultra violet rays. Symptoms of Cataracts are strictly visual in nature. There is no pain, redness of the eyes, or discomfort to warn that a Cataract is developing. Gradual blurring of vision and increased glare are the most common symptoms, and a nearsighted shift in glasses prescription often accompanies a Cataract. Unfortunately, there are no preventive measures to keep Cataracts from forming. However, cataracts are usually slow to develop, often over many years, and treatment is very effective in most cases. Initial treatment consists of no more than monitoring the eyes for visual changes and adjusting the glasses prescription to maintain good vision. When cataracts become more mature, a change in glasses may not be sufficient to improve vision to an acceptable level. At this point, your optometrist will discuss the possibility of referral to a cataract surgeon. A cataract is not ready for surgery however, until you feel the decrease in vision is adversely affecting your daily activities such as reading, watching TV, or driving.

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