Cataract Symptoms and Treatments

by: Advanced Laser | March 5, 2012

Unfortunately, with age comes a decline in quality of vision. Many people over the age of 50 develop cataracts. A cataract is the result of protein buildup. When a cataract occurs it causes a clouding of the lens in the eye, affecting vision. A cataract can occur in one or both eyes. Cataracts are very common, and by the age of 80, more than half of the U.S. population will either suffer from a cataract or have had cataract surgery. At Advanced Laser & Cataract Center Oklahoma, our eye doctors in Oklahoma City are devoted to providing you with the best care and the best technology that is available today.

Causes and Risk Factors

Although age is a common factor in developing a cataract, there are other risk factors such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High exposure to light
  • Exposure to ionizing radiation
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Previous eye surgery or injury
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications

It is essential to your vision and your eye health that you have regular eye check-ups.

Symptoms

Cataracts can build up slowly and often go unnoticed for a quite a while. Some of the symptoms of cataracts are:

  • Cloudy, blurry, or dim vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Increased difficulty seeing at night
  • Frequent changes in your prescription glasses or contact lenses
  • Glare
  • Halos
  • Double vision
  • Colors that seem faded

It is very important to see an eye doctor immediately if you notice any change in your vision. The effects of cataracts may appear subtle at first, but over time it will interfere with daily activities such as driving, reading, or even seeing facial expressions clearly.

Treatments

Surgery is the only cure for cataracts. Our Oklahoma City cataract surgery patients undergo treatment with a skilled ophthalmologist on an outpatient basis. Cataract surgery is a safe and quick procedure, often taking only thirty minutes to perform.  At the start of the procedure, eye drops are used to dilate the pupil and local anesthetics are used to numb the area. Cataract surgery is performed while the patient is awake, though a sedative may be given to improve patient comfort.

During surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). With the phacoemulsification technique, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the cornea. The surgeon then inserts a thin ultrasound probe that dissolves the lens using ultrasonic vibrations. The lens is broken into tiny fragments and is suctioned out using the same ultrasound probe. Once this process is complete, an IOL is implanted into the empty lens capsule. Once implanted, you cannot see or feel the IOL. It requires no extra care and is permanent.

If there is a cataract in both eyes, only one eye is surgically treated at a time. The second cataract is usually removed six to eight weeks after the first cataract surgery.

In cases of very advanced cataracts, the lens may be too dense to be removed using phacoemulsification. Extracapsular cataract surgery is used in these cases. Using a large incision, the entire lens is removed at once. Once the lens is removed, an IOL is placed in the empty lens capsule. This technique requires large sutures to close the wound and visual recovery often takes longer. Patients may have to wear an eye patch after this procedure is performed.

Contact Advanced Laser & Cataract Center Oklahoma

At Advanced Laser & Cataract Center Oklahoma, it is our goal to make each patient our top priority. To determine whether you are suffering from a cataract or what your best cataract treatment will be, please contact Advanced Laser & Cataract Center Oklahoma today.