What Are Cataracts? (1 of 2 pt series)

by: Advanced Laser | March 17, 2017

what are cataracts pt 1Cataracts are among the most common vision problems in the world. According to the American Association of Ophthalmology, cataracts are the number one cause of preventable blindness worldwide.  Yet, because cataracts can develop slowly, painlessly, and generally not until later in life, many people don’t learn about cataracts until their vision has been negatively impacted by cataracts for many years. The good news is that cataract surgery is safe, effective, and a very common method of cataract removal, but it’s still best to catch cataracts as soon as possible.

Ahead, the team at Advanced Laser and Cataract Center Oklahoma will outline common symptoms and causes of cataracts, in part-one of a two-part series on cataract surgery.

The ABC’s of Cataracts: Understanding One of the World’s Most Common Vision Problems

While there are many kinds of cataracts, the most common type of cataract is related to the natural aging process. People with cataracts often begin to notice symptoms around 50 years of age, or shortly after. Since cataracts develop slowly, however, it’s easy to confuse their symptoms with other vision problems like presbyopia, which may develop during the same age-range.

Some Cataract Symptoms:

  • Blurred Vision – Cataracts typically cause blurred vision, which can affect both short- and long-range visual acuity. While not all blurred vision is caused by cataracts, it is a good reason to visit your eye doctor if you have experienced symptoms.
  • Color Differentiation – In general, cataracts can make it hard to see the contrast differences between two objects. This can include making colors appear less vivid, and can eventually make it difficult to distinguish one color from another.
  • Glare or Halos – Sensitivity to light, glare, and the appearance of “halos” around bright lights may be a sign of developing cataracts. These symptoms can commonly lead to difficulties seeing under bright illuminations such as in a brightly lit room or driving on a sunny day.
  • Low-Light Difficulty – With cataracts, it can be especially difficult to see in low-light situations, such as when driving or walking at night. When you pass a streetlight or another driver’s headlights, you may also notice the halo effect during the night.

Some Cataract Causes:

  • Aging – Some cataract causes can be managed with changes in social habits, life style and general health, but this isn’t one of them. Most cataracts are related to the aging process, so early detection and proper monitoring by an eye care professional are important as you enter the prime years for development of cataracts.
  • Trauma – While less common, traumatic eye or head injuries can also lead to the formation of cataracts at any age.
  • Smoking – Smoking is bad for your health in so many ways, and you can add compromised vision health to the list. Smoking is considered a risk factor for cataract developments.
  • Diabetes – Elevated and uncontrolled blood sugar can increase the risk of cataract development, especially when left untreated.

Dealing with cataract symptoms is a challenge, but there is a proven safe and effective method for treating cataract. Modern cataract surgery is one of the most widely performed procedures in North America. In part two of our series on cataracts, the team at Advanced Laser and Cataract Center Oklahoma will share the details of what to expect from cataract surgery, and why it has such an excellent success rate.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, or have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, call today to schedule a cataract evaluation!