By the age of 75, as many as half of all Americans will have cataracts. By the age of 80, from 53 to 70 percent of Americans will have cataracts that will permanently impair sight if they are not treated. People of any age, even infants, can develop cataracts. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about cataracts from your optometrist at Vision Quest Eye Care Center in Dover and Milford.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are dense, cloudy patches on the lenses of the eyes, the parts of the eyes that focus light onto the retinas so we can see. Cataracts are clumps of proteins in the lenses of the eyes that are formed during years of exposure to the UV rays of sunlight or long-term uncontrolled diabetes. They can also occur after eye injuries.
Cataracts can occur at any stage of life, but they usually start forming when patients are in their forties and don't interfere with vision until patients reach their sixties.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
It's not unusual to notice something is "off" with your eyesight, but not know exactly what it is during the early stages of cataracts. As the clouding of the lens progresses, you might start seeing halos around lights at night or become nearsighted in addition to being farsighted. The longer cataracts are allowed to progress, the more of your sight they will take. Leaving cataracts untreated for many years may leave you legally blind.
What can my eye doctor do about cataracts?
Treating cataracts is almost never an emergency. You will almost always have time to work with your optometrist to monitor your condition so you can choose the right time to get surgical treatment. Your optometrist will take care of the before and after treatment you receive for the surgery your ophthalmologist performs. Your optometrist will make sure that you get the follow-up care you need after your surgery to make sure your eyes completely heal.
Does cataract surgery really work?
Because the doctor implants a new lens in your eyes after removing the lens that has been damaged by cataracts, you may have better vision than you have ever had before once you have had your cataract surgery. Not everyone can get bifocal lens replacement (it's not possible if you have retinopathy), but often your eye doctor can give you a new lens that corrects both nearsightedness and middle-age farsightedness so you won't need glasses or contacts at all.
Make an appointment with your optometrist at Vision Eye Care Center today!
Vision Quest Eye Care Center has offices in Dover and Milford. For appointments in Dover call us at (302) 424-9424. For appointments in Milford call us at (302) 678-3545. Or request your appointment online today!