A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. Over time the proteins in the eyes start to clump together, causing cloudy areas in the lens. Vision through eyes with cataracts can be described as looking through a foggy window or piece of wax paper.
Cataracts are a natural occurrence of the aging process: More than 50% of people over the age of 80 have cataracts. In fact, cataracts are so common it is estimated that everyone will develop a cataract if they live long enough.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Cataract development is usually a very gradual process, but they can occasionally occur rapidly. Many people are unaware that they have cataracts because the changes in their vision are so gradual. Common symptoms of cataracts may include:
- Painless blurring of vision
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Double vision in one eye
- Poor night vision
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescription
If left untreated, cataracts will eventually lead to blindness.
Risk Factors for Cataracts in Virginia Beach
Although mainly associated with the aging process, other factors can play a role in increasing your risk factors for cataracts:
- Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light
- Significant alcohol consumption
- Poor nutrition
- Previous eye surgery
Cataract Treatment in Virginia Beach
If a cataract is not interfering with your daily activities or it does not prevent your doctor from diagnosing other eye conditions, you may choose to live with them for years.
However, if cataracts are making activities such as driving, reading or watching TV difficult, it may be time for treatment. The only way to treat cataracts is through cataract surgery. The good news is that this is a very common procedure with a very high success rate. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), 3 million people have cataract surgery in the United States each year with a 98% or higher success rate.
Cataract Surgery in Virginia Beach
During cataract surgery, your cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. Today there are a variety of replacement lens options available. The right lens for you will depend on your vision problems, your lifestyle and your budget. Certain lens options can correct pre-existing vision conditions along with your cataracts, such as needing reading glasses, so you have the chance at reducing or even eliminating your need for glasses after cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery can not only improve your vision…it can improve your quality of life.
If you are experiencing any changes in your vision, contact Tidewater Eye Centers today to schedule an eye exam in Virginia Beach. Our comprehensive exam can identify the presence of cataracts and let you know if it is time for surgery.