Getting cataracts diagnosis and treatment is key to maintaining your ocular health.
Eye specialists have long established that cataracts are the number-one cause of blindness in the world. Cloudiness in the eye’s lens is the primary characteristic of cataracts. If left untreated, this degenerative eye disease can lead to blurred vision, vision loss and even blindness.
The human eye has its own natural lens, and it’s responsible for focusing any incoming light. These lenses have naturally occurring proteins that serve to protect and restore your eyes.
As lens proteins denature and degrade over time, environmental factors and physiological disorders can accelerate the deterioration of these healing functions. These degraded proteins are what cause the clouded vision typical of cataracts.
There are three types of cataracts, and specialists classify them per where they first form:
- Cortical — on the edges of the lens
- Nuclear — in the center of the lens
- Subcapsular — at the back of the lens
Depending on where the cataracts first develop, patients may not notice clouded vision early on. Sometimes glare from bright lights or dulled colors in everyday life are a clue that something might be wrong. Unfortunately, it’s occasionally too late to fully save your vision because the cataracts have advanced too rapidly.
Cataracts can result from other disorders or treatments:
- Steroid use (usually as an immunosuppressant medication)
- Radiation treatment (usually for cancer)
These cloudy spots in the lens, aka “opacities,” continue to clump together to further impair your vision. In the same way that rubbing grease on a window reduces clarity and hinders seeing what’s on the other side, cataracts reduce the lens’ ability to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye.
During our licensed eye doctors’ comprehensive yearly eye exam, they use multiple methods to better evaluate your pupils, cornea, iris, lens and retina for cataracts:
- Visual acuity test
- Slit-lamp examination
- Retinal exam with pupil dilation
What Our Cataracts Eye Exam Looks For
We cover numerous indicators during our cataracts exam:
- Overall lens opacity
- Any wedge-like opacities
- Swelling of the cortex
- Any white occlusions
- Density of the lens’ central zone
- Brightness of light reflected from the back of the eye
Although dilation can be a little awkward for patients at first, the process isn’t uncomfortable. Our eye specialists administer drops that take 15 to 30 minutes to open the pupils for thorough examination. Side effects include light sensitivity and blurred vision that last approximately three to four hours. Ultimately, dilation is key to cataracts diagnosis and treatment.
Cataracts Treatment Options
Lenses are an easy way to minimize early onset vision impairment. Nonetheless, they have a limited capacity to restore vision loss.
Cataracts surgery is the only real way to treat this progressive eye disease. Fortunately, cataracts surgery is a safe, painless procedure. During the surgery, eye doctors replace degraded, cloudy lenses with artificial lenses.
Why Is Getting a Cataract Exam So Important?
Cataracts don’t develop uniformly. A patient might naturally adapt to changes in their vision’s clarity. Our licensed eye doctors can easily diagnose the early signs.
You want to help your body as much as you can! By detecting eye and vision problems early, we can provide management options and — in many cases — prevent total vision loss.
Issues like these are why it’s so important to schedule regular annual eye exams. If your vision gets worse before you’re due to see your eye doctor, make an earlier appointment. That way, you can consult with your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Contact us today to learn more.