Cataracts is well-documented as the number one cause of blindness in the world. Cataracts is characterized by the cloudiness in the lens of your eye. 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, responsible for focusing any incoming light. These lenses have naturally occurring proteins that serve to protect and restore. As the lens proteins denature and degrade over time, specific environmental factors and physiological disorders can accelerate the deterioration of these healing mechanisms. These degraded proteins are what cause the clouded vision.
There are 3 types of cataracts, classified by where they first form:
- Cortical: on the edges of the lens
- Nuclear: in the center
- Subcapsular: at the back
Given where the cataracts initially develop, patients may not detect clouded vision early on. Sometimes the glare from bright lights or dulled colors of everyday life will be a clue that something might be wrong. Other times, it’ll be too late as the cataracts advances 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, also called “opacities,” will continue to clump together to further impair your vision. In the same way that rubbing grease on a window reduces the clearness and clarity of seeing what’s on the other side, cataracts reduces the lens’ ability to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye.
Our licensed eye doctors <<comprehensive yearly eye exam>> use a variety of 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 is Looking For
There are numerous indicators we cover during our cataracts exam.
- Overall lens opacity
- Any wedge-like opacities
- Swelling of the cortex
- Any white occlusions
- Density of the central zone of the lens
- Brightness of reflected light from the back of the eye
Despite being initially a little awkward for patients, dilation is not an uncomfortable process. It is administered with drops, which take 15 to 30 minutes to open up the pupils for thorough examination. Side effects include light sensitivity and blurred vision, lasting approximately three to four hours.
Cataracts Treatment Options
Lens are an easy way to minimize early-onset vision impairment. Though, they do have a limited capacity to restore vision loss.
Cataracts surgery is the only real way to treat the progressive eye disease. Cataracts surgery is a safe, painless procedure where the degraded, cloudy lenses are replaced with artificial lenses.
Why Is a Cataract Exam So Important?
Cataracts don’t develop uniformly. A patient might naturally adapt to changes in their vision’s clarity. The early signs can be easily diagnosed by our licensed eye doctors. You want to help your body out 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 is getting worse before you’re scheduled to see your eye doctor, make an earlier appointment so you consult with your eye doctor as soon as possible.