A cataract is an opaque clouding of the lens of your eye, which is normally clear. Cataracts develop when the normally highly-organized proteins that make up the lens begin to clump together. For many people who have cataracts, it can appear like they are looking through foggy or frosted glass. The most common symptoms of cataracts are cloudy vision, glare, poor night vision, reduced colour vision, double vision/ multiple images and frequent changes in glasses.
It is worth noting that many people who have cataracts don’t experience visual disturbances right away because they develop slowly, and gradually increase in size. Furthermore, the degree to which a cataract can disrupt vision depends on the size and location of the cataract within the lens. Significant cataracts will interfere with regular activities such as driving, reading and watching TV.
Risk factors for cataract development include: age, diabetes, excessive sunlight exposure, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, use of corticosteroids and a history of eye injury, inflammation or surgery.
An optometrist is able to diagnose cataracts during a routine eye exam using a slit lamp, and also through testing visual acuity. There are a variety of treatment options for cataracts. The symptoms of early cataracts can be improved with new glasses, magnifying lenses, anti-glare lenses and brighter lighting. Once the cataract starts producing significant reductions in vision, the best treatment option is to have surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing the cataract-containing lens and replacing it with a new, clear lens. This procedure is extremely safe and effective.
If you are concerned about cataracts, you can call our office to book an appointment, or speak with your eye care provider.