Like other aspects of aging, our eyes slowly begin to fail us as we get older. One incredibly common symptom of aging eyes is the onset of cataracts. Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, like the sensation of looking through a dirty windshield in a car. Up until recently, cataracts were left in patient’s eyes until they were “ripe” but this is no longer the case. Now, cataracts can be removed easily and efficiently with surgery as vision becomes impaired, or things start to become blurry. Cataracts currently affect 22 million Americans who are 40 years of age or older, and is the leading cause of blindness in the world when they are not treated.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts occur in aging eyes when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, making vision more difficult. At first, cataracts may not be noticeable, with only vision becoming slightly blurrier, or a loss of near and distance vision. As cataracts form, they will get larger and larger over time if not treated, making things harder to see. There is no way to completely prevent cataracts from forming, but a healthy diet filled with vitamins and antioxidant heavy fruits and vegetables may help. Another important way to reduce the risk of cataracts is to wear protective sunglasses that block harmful UV rays when you’re outside.
If cataracts are impacting your vision, it may be time to consider having them surgically removed. Some people may avoid surgery temporarily by using new glasses, getting a stronger prescription or magnification, but these are only temporary solutions. If poor vision is impacting your life, cataract surgery is the best way to restore your vision.
Cataract surgery involves removing the eye’s natural lens that has become cloudy and replacing it with an intraocular lens, also known as an IOL. The IOL is an artificial lens implant that’s usually made of plastic, acrylic, or silicone. The IOL allows patients to have their clear vision back, leading to a higher quality of life after this out patient surgical procedure.
For more information on the cataract surgery procedure, please view the following videos: