When people hear about or are considering cataract treatments, they’re typically assuming this involves surgery. According to the National Eye Institute, cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. By age 80, more than 50% of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Approximately 90% of people experience improved vision following cataract surgery.
Aging is the main culprit causing cataracts, but genetics, lifestyle, and other health conditions can also play a role. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens, which progressively reduces the sharpness of your vision and can make your field of vision appear tinted yellowish-brown. This can affect how accurately you see colors as well as make it more difficult to perform routine tasks like reading and driving.
How And When To Treat Cataracts
Researchers have been working to develop eye drops that may someday improve or dissolve cataracts. However, this research is likely years away. For now, any eye drops or other products that claim to dissolve cataracts are ineffective.
The key to early cataract treatment is taking steps to limit the progression of cataracts and staying aware of how they may be affecting your vision. The goal of early cataract treatment, when surgery is not yet considered necessary, is to improve your quality of vision. Cataract symptoms may include:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Poor night vision
- Double vision
- Light sensitivity
- Changing eyewear prescriptions
If you are diagnosed with cataracts but your symptoms are mild and not interfering with your daily tasks, you may be able to optimize your vision with new glasses, anti-glare glasses, brighter or better positioned lighting, or magnifying lenses. There are also certain coatings and tints that can be added to your eyeglasses to reduce symptoms like halos or glare from lights while driving at night.
When these adjustments no longer alleviate symptoms and cataracts begin to interfere with routine activities like driving or reading, surgery is the only effective treatment. During cataract surgery, the eye’s lens, which has become clouded over time, is replaced with a clear artificial lens in order to improve vision. Fortunately, cataract surgery is common, safe, and effective, and there are options for the types of artificial lenses you may receive. Standard cataract surgery removes only the cataracts, but refractive cataract surgery removes the cataracts and corrects other vision problems.
A comprehensive eye exam is the only way to confirm that you have cataracts. Your ophthalmologist will examine your cornea, iris, lens, and the back of your eye for abnormalities and signs of cataracts. He or she will then discuss options for early treatment to minimize symptoms, and advise you on when surgery may be necessary.
To discuss any concerns you may have about cataracts or to find the root cause of your symptoms, contact East Tennessee Eye Surgeons. With two locations at 7800 Conner Road in Powell and 744 Middle Creek Road, Suite 200 in Sevierville, East Tennessee Eye Surgeons delivers the highest quality eye care in an exceptional setting. Visit our website to learn more about us, or call us at 865-546-1464 (Powell) or 865-908-7008 (Sevierville).