Our eye care experts diagnose and treat cataracts.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. Your eye’s lens works like a camera lens. The lens focuses light onto the retina in the back of the eye, where your eye records the image. The retina takes these images and sends signals to the brain. The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus so we can see things clearly, both up close and far away.
The lens is mostly water and protein, arranged in a special way to keep the lens clear and let light pass through it. Cataracts occur when this protein starts to clump together, clouding the lens. Cataracts can make your vision cloudy and make colors look dull.
Affinity Health System eye care experts are available to evaluate your risk for cataracts, and to diagnose and treat this disease.
Cataracts are most common in older adults, but can also occur in children. Doctors are not sure what causes the changes in the eye that result in cataracts. Research suggests that aging, lifelong exposure to ultraviolet light (usually sunlight), smoking, heredity, eye injuries, high cholesterol and triglycerides, taking cortisone medications for a long time and diabetes are factors that may increase the risk of developing cataracts.
Symptoms of cataracts include:
- cloudy or filmy vision that eyeglasses or contact lenses can’t correct
- glare from lamps, sunlight or snow
- blurred or double vision
- decreased night vision
- light sensitivity
- dulling of colors
- frequent eyeglass prescription changes
- stronger glasses failing to improve sight
Tests and Procedures
An ophthalmologist can examine your eyes for signs of cataracts during your routine eye exam.
Adults who get cataracts in their 40s and 50s may have few problems, because the cataracts are usually small and do not interfere with vision. Small cataracts only require periodic monitoring. Larger cataracts may require glasses or other treatment. When normal vision becomes blocked by cataracts, a relatively simple surgery can restore vision. Cataract surgery is done under local anesthesia and takes about an hour.
Good health habits may postpone or prevent cataracts. Eating a diet high in vitamin C and E and beta carotene may defend your eyes from cataracts. Protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light by wearing hats and sunglasses can help, too. Smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts, so if you smoke, quit.