Cataracts are a common eye condition affecting the lens portion of the
eye. They are not a growth or film on the eye, but rather a clouding of
the focusing lens, which is located behind the pupil. Cataracts are especially
common in aging adults, though some younger patients can develop the condition.
In a healthy eye, light travels through the pupil where it is focused through
the clear lens onto the retina. The lens, which is made mostly of water
and protein, can develop clumps of protein with age. These protein deposits
are what cause the lens to become cloudy. Mild clouding of the eye may
not affect vision, but when a majority of the lens becomes clouded, serious
vision problems develop and treatment becomes necessary.
Cataracts cannot be removed, nor can the progression of cataracts be arrested
or reversed. Once cataracts begin to develop, there is no way to make
the lens clear again. Cataracts will steadily limit a person’s ability
to complete simple tasks such as seeing street signs, reading a book or
driving at night.
Treatment for Cataracts
In order to restore vision that has been lost due to cataracts, the clouded
lens must be removed and replaced with an artificial lens. There is a range of
cataract treatment options, depending on the patient’s lifestyle.
High technology lenses. Patients with an active lifestyle who do not want the hassle of wearing
glasses after cataract surgery have the option of high-technology lenses
such as Trulign® and Crystalens®, TECNIS® Multifocal Lens
or AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR®. These
high-technology lens options allow patients to maintain their active lifestyle without the encumbrance
of glasses or contacts after surgery.
Correction for cataracts and astigmatism. Toric lens and
Limbal Relaxing Incisions are two cataract removal options for patients who also have astigmatism.
These treatments may leave the patient less dependent on glasses for most
activities that require distance vision, though the patient may still
need glasses for reading.
Monofocal lenses or traditional lenses. Patients who don’t mind wearing glasses and do not have astigmatism
traditional lens implants or monofocal lenses. These treatment options are the most basic type of
lens implants. With monofocal or traditional lenses, your vision is typically
in focus at only one distance, either near or far.
A monofocal lens implant can provide good vision but only at a set distance,
usually for farsighted activities such as driving. A monofocal lens implant
does not correct nearsightedness for doing things like playing cards or
eyeballing a golf ball on a tee. The majority of patients electing to
have monofocal or traditional lens implants will be dependent on glasses
or bifocals either some or most of the time.
Only your eye doctor can diagnose cataracts, but symptoms to be aware of
include difficulty seeing, blurred vision and seeing a halo or glare around
lights. If you have experienced a change in your vision or have noticed
you have difficulty completing daily tasks,
contact Key-Whitman today for a
comprehensive eye exam and to discuss your
cataract treatment options.