As we age, it is more important than ever to get regular eye exams. The American Optometric Association recommends that every person over the age of 60 have an annual eye examination. They also advise that if you notice any changes in your vision, see an eye doctor immediately.
Cataracts are a common eye problem in older adults and develop as the tissue in the eye’s lens breaks down and clumps together causing cloudy or opaque areas. Aging or an eye injury can cause cataracts as well as other conditions such as diabetes and the long-term use of steroid medications.
The size and location of the cataract determines how much it interferes with your vision. If the cataract is only affecting a small part of the eye, you may not even know you have one. Noticeable symptoms occur as the cataract grows and starts clouding more of the lens and distorting the way light passes through the lens.
The Mayo Clinic says that cataract symptoms include:
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Double vision in a single eye
Once a person cannot clear their vision with prescription glasses and the cataract is interfering with normal daily activities including driving at night and reading, surgery is the only effect treatment. The procedure involves removing the damaged lens and replacing it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, which becomes a permanent part of the eye.
The surgery is done on an outpatient basis and the person experiences a few days of discomfort. The complete healing process takes about eight weeks. If a patient needs surgery on both eyes, the second one is done once the first eye has healed.
This post is for informational purposes only, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.
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