As we age, we might get used to a variety of changes to our physiology. We get used to relying on “readers” to read the small print on labels. We might find halos and glares around lights “normal.” Because the body and brain are so used to adjusting to new stimuli, we might miss the clues that our eyes could use some extra care. Cataracts are one of those conditions that should be under the care of an ophthalmologist. If you develop this condition, it does not mean that you need to receive care (surgery) immediately. Having cataracts does not mean that you are at risk of permanently losing your eyesight. However, cataracts WILL diminish your visual clarity bit by bit. At the point of your choosing, which is hopefully before your quality of life is severely impaired, you will want to schedule a simple procedure to remove cataracts.
What are Cataracts?
A cataract is the formation of a clump of proteins on the lens of an eye. Most often, only one eye develops this condition at one time. This is not to say that only one eye ever will, nor that having cataracts in one eye means having them in both. Cataracts are known to cause clouded vision, the sensation of looking through a fog or through a dirty window. While clouded vision is the most recognizable symptom of cataracts, this condition may also cause changes in color perception, with once-vibrant colors appearing duller. Cataracts may also be the root cause of consistent and frequent changes to eyeglass prescriptions. When cataracts are forming, a person may become sensitive to bright light or may experience new irritation while wearing contact lenses.
Who Is At Risk of Developing Cataracts?
Millions of people around the world develop cataracts. It is estimated that approximately one in six Americans over age 40 is in some stage of cataract development. Various factors can contribute to the risk of cataracts development. These include aging, certain medications, diabetes, smoking, steroid use, and sun exposure (wear sunglasses!).
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
As you might suspect, if you are experiencing symptoms that involve one or both eyes, you should see a doctor. An ophthalmologist is a specialist who has years of training and experience diagnosing and treating conditions and diseases that can degrade vision. This ensures that symptoms are thoroughly evaluated in their earliest stages, provided that care is sought right away. If your vision has become more blurry or cloudy, now is the time to consult a board-certified ophthalmologist. Cataract surgery has advanced a great deal in recent years. Today, a brief, painless procedure can restore clearer, crisper vision.
To explore your cataract treatment options, contact our Amarillo office at (806) 351-1177. We look forward to meeting you!