10 FAQs About Cataracts

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 5-Jun-2014

CsmallCataracts are an eye condition affecting more than 25 million Americans. Though cataracts are common, you may not know much about them. If you have been diagnosed with cataracts or you are an adult over age 40, you may have questions about this common eye condition.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Cataracts

  1. What are cataracts?
    Contrary to popular belief, cataracts are not a growth or film on the eye, but rather a clouding on the eye's lens, which is made mostly of water and protein. Clumps of protein can develop on the lens with age, and these clumps cause the cloudiness known as cataracts.
  2. Do cataracts develop in one or both eyes?
    Cataracts typically develop in both eyes, although they are usually more advanced in one eye.
  3. Who can get cataracts?
    Cataracts are most often related to age and commonly affect adults over age 40. However, there are other possible causes of cataracts including genetics, birth defects, disease, medication and traumatic injury to the eye.
  4. What are the symptoms of cataracts?
    Symptoms of cataracts vary based on severity of the cataracts, but the most common sign of cataracts is difficulty seeing to do normal daily tasks, such as working around the house, reading or writing, seeing faces, watching TV and driving.
  5. Can I stop cataracts from forming?
    Once the focusing lens of the eye begins to cloud, there is no way to make it clear again or to stop the progression. Once they begin to form, cataracts will slowly progress and vision will slowly decline.
  6. How are cataracts treated?
    If cataracts affect the ability to perform normal daily activities, cataract surgery is the only option to treat the condition and restore vision. During the procedure, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. If you have cataracts in both eyes, it will require two separate procedures—cataract surgery is typically performed one eye at a time.
  7. Will I need glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery?
    Depending on the replacement lenses chosen and your previous prescription needs, you may still require corrective lenses following cataract surgery. Cataract replacement lenses do contain their own correction, so you will most likely need a new prescription for contacts or eyeglasses after surgery. If you wore contact lenses prior to cataract surgery, you should be able to wear them without a problem after surgery. Unfortunately, there is no way to test what your vision will be like with cataract replacement lenses until after recovery.
  8. What are the cataract treatment options? Key-Whitman provides a variety of cataract treatment options to patients. Choosing the right option for you is dependent on your overall vision needs and your hobbies and daily activities. Some of these options include Trulign® and Crystalens®, ReSTOR®, TECNIS® and the traditional aspheric monofocal lens implant. Monofocal lenses will correct vision at a single distance, whereas multifocal lenses will correct vision at a variety of distances. Multifocal and accommodating lenses could reduce or even eliminate the need to wear reading glasses following cataract surgery. If you have macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, your doctor will most likely recommend monofocal lenses.
  9. Are there risks involved with cataract surgery? Implanting premium lenses can be more complicated than monofocal lenses. Risks associated with the procedure vary from one person to the next, as well as from one procedure to the next. As with any surgical procedure, select an experienced doctor to perform your cataract surgery. Your surgeon will discuss your risks associated with the procedure prior to surgery.
  10. What is post cataract capsular haze? The cataract sits in a capsule that completely surrounds it. The lens that is implanted during cataract surgery sits in this capsule behind the pupil. As time passes after cataract surgery, the back of this capsule can cloud, interfering with vision. The cloudiness can be quickly treated in your eye doctor’s office. This is a common occurrence among cataract patients, and most patients will need treatment for post cataract capsular haze at some point following cataract surgery.

If you have questions about cataracts, contact us to schedule a consultation.

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