Cataracts 101: What They Are and How to Deal
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Have you noticed recently that your vision has become foggy, or that you’re having trouble seeing at night? You could be developing cataracts. If you’re not familiar with cataracts, here’s everything you need to know about this eye condition.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are the clouding of the lens of the eye. The lens is located right behind the iris, or the colored portion of the eye. It is responsible for focusing the light that passes through the eye in order to produce a clear image on the retina. However, a cataract will cause the lens to stop focusing the light, causing it to disperse as it passes through the lens. When this occurs, your vision appears as if you are looking through a foggy mirror, not being able to see like you did once before.
How Do Cataracts Develop?
Cataracts commonly develop with age. As your body ages, the lens in your eye(s) become thicker and less flexible, causing symptoms of cataracts to become more severe and visible. However, cataracts can also be caused by injuries to the lens of your eye, inflammation or other medical conditions, such as diabetes. Cataracts may only develop in one of your eyes, but usually they develop in both of your eyes. However, cataracts do not develop the same. The cataract in one eye may have progressed more in one eye than in your other eye.
How Do Cataracts Affect Your Vision?
Cataracts can put serious limitations on your vision as they develop. This eye condition can make everyday tasks difficult, such as reading a magazine, driving a car, and seeing facial expressions. Cataracts don’t just cloud your vision, but they also can make you experience double vision, eye sensitivity to light and glare, fading of colors and a frequent change in prescription of eyewear. As cataracts in your eye(s) continue to grow, your vision will become more clouded, continuing to alter the light that is passing through your eye’s lens.
Type of Cataracts
There are four types of cataracts that affect the lens of your eye(s).
- Nuclear Cataracts
– This type of cataract affects the center of the lens. A nuclear cataract can cause you to become temporarily nearsighted, temporarily improving your reading vision. However, in time, your lens will turn yellow, further clouding your vision and blocking light that is trying to pass through your retina. The lens could also start to turn brown, making it difficult for you to distinguish between shades of color.
- Cortical Cataracts
– This type of cataract affects the edges of your lens. Cortical cataracts begin as a white, wedge-shaped cloudiness or streak on the outer edge of the lens. As it progresses, it continues to extend to the center of the eye. Individuals with this type of cataract usually have problems with glare.
- Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts
– This type of cataract affects the back of the lens. Posterior subcapular cataracts begin as a small, cloudy area that usually forms near the back of the lens. Its position in the lens directly affects the light passing through the lens to the retina. This type of cataract normally interferes with your reading vision, reduces your vision in bright light and causes you to experience glare at night.
- Congenital Cataracts
– This type of cataract develops during birth. Certain people are born with congenital cataracts or some develop it through childhood. This type of cataract could be the result of a mother having an infection during pregnancy or due to a medical condition, such as rubella. Congenital cataracts might not affect your vision, but if they do, they are usually removed right away.
How to Diagnose and Treat Cataracts
To determine whether you have a cataract, your eye doctor will look over your medical history and perform a complete eye exam. A visual field test can also be performed to detect different areas of dysfunction in central and peripheral vision, and an electroretinography test can be used to determine if you need surgery for your cataracts.
The best way to treat cataracts is with surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing your clouded lens and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens. The old lens is broken down into pieces, and the new lens is positioned in the same place as your natural lens, becoming a permanent part of your eye. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most successful procedures, and only takes a few hours to complete with little discomfort.
If cataracts cloud your vision, schedule an appointment with Marano Eye Care in New Jersey. We can help you restore your vision and improve your quality of life. Allow us to walk you through the procedure by calling (973)-322-0100 today!