What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. You can think of the eye as a camera. In a camera, there is a lens which focuses light onto the film. Similarly, in the eye there is a clear lens that focuses light onto the retina. In a camera if you were to smear the lens with grease and then take a picture, the picture would come out blurry. By the same token, if the normally crystal clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy, the"pictures" the eye sees will also be blurry.
Thank you for the patience & work you did to help me with the surgery. You are a very dear person and I appreciate the patience and kindness of all of the staff.
What causes cataract?
A cataract is most often related to aging of the eye. A family history of cataract can be important. In addition, a history of diabetes, eye injury or use of certain medications (most notably steroids) can also play a role in the development of cataract. Frequent and extensive exposure to ultraviolet light has also been shown to hasten the development of cataracts. No specific evidence exists that links diet and the development of cataracts.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of cataracts is a painless, gradual blurring of the vision. Other symptoms include glare, double vision in one eye, poor night vision, fading or yellowing of colors, frequent eyeglass prescription changes, and need to use brighter light to read.
The rate at which a cataract grows is highly variable, even between the two eyes of the same individual. The typical age related cataract usually grows slowly, whereas the cataract associated with diabetes may grow more quickly. It is impossible to predict how fast a cataract will grow in any given person.
Improved functional vision
The images below compare normal functional vision vs. reduced functional vision in patients with 20/20 visual acuity. As you can see, patients with reduced functional vision — who may still be able to read the letters on the chart — would be at a serious disadvantage in a low-light driving situation.
Normal Functional Vision
Reduced Functional Vision
Patients with reduced functional vision may:
- Have lack of confidence in low-light situations that involve walking, climbing stairs, or unfamiliar settings
- Experience trouble reading or doing work at close range
- Have difficulty driving at dusk, at night, or in the fog
How is a cataract detected?
In order to detect a cataract, a thorough medical examination by your ophthalmologist is recommended. This way, the ophthalmologist can tell if there are other reasons for the visual disturbance you may have.
If the cataract is causing only a mild blurring of your vision, a change in your glasses may be all that is needed to allow you to see better. If, however, the cataract is more advanced, correcting your vision fully may require removal of the cataract.