A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. The eye may become frosted or yellowed and vision may become blurred. Cataracts are a common cause of vision loss, especially in aging patients, but they are treatable. Florida Eye Associates’ physicians have been performing cataract surgery and lens replacements for many years in our state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center (ASC).
Common symptoms of cataracts may include:
- painless blurring of vision
- light sensitivity
- poor night vision
- double vision in one eye
- needing a brighter light to read
- colors looking faded or yellow
Click on the image below to watch a video about cataracts.
What Causes Cataracts?
In most cases, the answer is age. Cataracts form slowly and cause no pain. Rarely, babies can be born with a cloudy lens called a congenital cataract. Some things that speed the development of cataracts include: long-term use of corticosteroids, alcoholism, diabetes mellitus, eye injury, smoking, and long-time exposure to ultra-violet (UV) light.
Age-related cataracts typically appear gradually over several years. In young or diabetic people, however, cataracts may progress rapidly in a short time. The speed with which a cataract develops will vary depending on the individual, and even between two eyes in the same individual.
It is impossible to predict from person to person how fast cataracts will actually develop. The cloudiness and pattern of a cataract can vary. If the cloudiness is to the side of the eye’s field of vision, it can be hard to detect the presence of cataracts.
How Will I Know If I Have a Cataract?
Many people have cataracts without knowing it. This is because in the early stages the cataract does not interfere with vision. As the lens gets thicker, it has more power within the eye which can actually improve reading vision, sometimes called “second sight.” With time, the lens becomes cloudier and may cause a gradual blurring of vision. This is often noticed as a difficulty reading roadsigns when driving. Night driving can also be affected. Haloes around lights are often seen. Sensitivity to bright light, or decreased vision in bright light are common complaints. Ability to distinguish or perceive colors may be impaired.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
For early stage cataract, changing glasses prescription may improve vision. There are no medications or eye-drops that will help. When cataracts are interfering with normal activities of daily living, surgery should be considered. Florida Eye Associates’ surgeons usually remove cataracts under local anesthesia in our ambulatory surgery center (ASC). The surgeon makes a tiny incision and the clouded lens is removed through “phacoemulsification,” a process that uses ultrasound power to liquefy the lens so it can be withdrawn. A clear lens implant is then placed in the sac that used to hold the cataract. Learn more about cataract surgery and lens replacement options at Florida Eye Associates.
There are many options available to patients today. Call 321-727-2020 if you’d like to schedule an eye exam or to consult with a physician about cataract treatment options.