WHAT ARE CATARACTS?
Cataracts occur when proteins cloud on the eye's internal lens. It's a natural part of aging. Every year the human lens lays down another layer of material similar to the rings on a tree trunk. Eventually, the lens becomes cloudy and defective. Our physicians specialize in diagnosing and managing cataracts. Reach out to visit our Bloomington, IN office today to schedule a comprehensive exam.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CATARACTS?
Cataracts cause blurred vision, glare and glasses prescriptions that don't help. Lifestyle choices, like cigarette smoking, drinking too much or too often, and extended UV ray exposure have been shown to correspond with cataracts as have some health conditions, like diabetes and hypertension. To determine whether someone has a cataract, an eye doctor needs to perform an in-depth eye exam. Our team at The Eye Center of Southern Indiana is highly experienced in the tests involved in a comprehensive cataract exam. The typical tests to look for a cataract are all very simple, over with quickly, and cause little to no discomfort.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF CATARACTS?
A cataract is an unavoidable product of advancing age and the natural degradation of the proteins that make up the lens of the eye. This process takes place in all people; however, there are additional lifestyle and health factors that can speed up the condition. Behavioral issues, such as using tobacco products, drinking (excessive consumption), and heavy UV-ray exposure, have been linked to cataracts, as have some health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Other factors that could worsen the condition include:
- A family history of cataracts
- Trauma to the eye
- Some types of eye surgery
- Degenerative myopia
- Some medications, like steroids
WHO IS AT RISK OF CATARACTS?
While age is the primary risk factor for developing cataracts, there are several potential contributing factors that could increase your risk. The Eye Center of Southern Indiana can perform an assessment of your health and lifestyle to determine if your cloudy vision is caused by cataracts. These factors may include:
- Genetics, or a family history of cataracts
- Extended exposure to UV light
- Prolonged use of certain medications
- Untreated or chronic illnesses
- Poor diet lacking in necessary nutrients and vitamins
- Smoking cigarettes or using other forms of tobacco
HOW DOES CATARACT TREATMENT WORK?
We begin the process with an extremely thorough eye exam. Computerized scans are done that are much more informative than a routine eye exam. These scans and a dilated eye exam leads to a thorough discussion about your eyes and your treatment options. If surgery is recommended, we then review the various ways cataract surgery can be done with the latest surgical technology. Our doctors will tailor the discussion for you and your precious eyes. After the exam, our staff will provide additional information, coordinate any other health-related issues and help you select the surgical date and time.
When should cataracts be treated?
You should visit a cataract professional like the doctors at The Eye Center Of Southern Indiana as soon as cataracts begin to affect your vision. If you have trouble reading, driving, or performing other simple activities due to cloudy vision, it's time to schedule an appointment. Your cataracts will need to be addressed to prevent future vision loss or blindness.
Can cataracts stop progressing on their own?
No, they do not stop progressing. Most cataracts get worse year by year while some get worse month by month. While short-term fixes like brighter lights and reading glasses may help, they don't address the root of the problem. The only real way to eliminate cataracts is to have them surgically removed.
Is cataract surgery painful?
IV sedation and topical anesthetics provide excellent comfort on the day of surgery. Most people experience no pain during or after surgery. Some mild irritation and scratchiness are not unusual and are alleviated by the eye drops we recommend after surgery
ACHIEVE HEALTHIER, CLEARER VISION
We work closely with your local optometrist. Please see them for your routine eye care. A complete eye exam with them is recommended every year for diabetic patients and every two years otherwise. After a cataract is diagnosed, they will monitor its progression and determine when to refer for a surgical consultation. A referral is not necessary but can simplify the process of our surgical consultation.