Diagnosing and Treating Cataracts

Cataracts are a common condition that usually affects people over 60. The patient's vision becomes cloudy, foggy, or blurry. Cataracts form slowly over a long period.


Most people do not realize that they have cataracts until their vision begins to change. If left untreated over a long period, cataracts can cause the patient to experience vision loss.


Symptoms of Cataracts


Cataracts result from a buildup of protein inside the eye lens, making the lens cloudy and preventing light from passing through it. Several symptoms can indicate that you have cataracts. The symptoms include:


  • Cloudy, filmy, or blurry vision

  • Nearsightedness

  • Changes in how you see color

  • Problems with night driving

  • Double vision

  • Problems with daytime glare

  • Difficulty with using eyeglasses or contacts


Types of Cataracts


There are different types of cataracts. They include:


  • Nuclear cataracts

  • Cortical cataracts

  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts

  • Congenital cataracts

  • Traumatic cataracts

  • Anterior subcapsular cataracts

  • Secondary cataracts

  • Radiation cataracts

  • Lamellar or zonular cataracts

  • Posterior polar cataracts

  • Post-vitrectomy cataracts

  • Anterior polar cataracts

  • Christmas tree cataracts

  • Diabetic snowflake cataracts


Diagnosing Cataracts


To diagnose cataracts, the eye doctor will ask about symptoms and conduct several tests. The tests used during diagnosis include a visual acuity test, a slit-lamp exam, and a retinal exam.


The slit-lamp exam involves using a special microscope to check the different layers of the eye. The doctor can examine the cornea, the iris, and the lens. During the retinal exam, the eye doctor will use drops to dilate the pupils and create a better view.


Treating Cataracts


The only way to treat cataracts permanently is by getting surgery. However, surgical removal of the cataracts is only an option when they start to affect the vision. During the early stages, cataracts may not be a problem, and an individual can perform routine tasks effectively.


Wearing prescription glasses can help correct the vision. Using a magnifying glass or a brighter lamp can help when performing tasks like reading. Special anti-glare glasses can help with night driving. If cataracts begin to cause vision issues, it is time to think about surgery.


Getting Cataract Surgery


Several surgical procedures treat cataracts. The procedures are small-incision surgery, large-incision surgery, and femtosecond laser surgery. The goal of the surgery is to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a new artificial one.


Cataract surgery is relatively straightforward and comfortable. The patient is awake but sedated during the procedure that usually takes 15 to 20 minutes. If the patient has cataracts in both eyes, the surgeon will perform the procedure on one eye first. The second procedure will begin after the first eye heals. 


If you have symptoms that indicate you might have cataracts, visit an eye doctor. A comprehensive eye exam will help determine if you have cataracts. If you do, talk to your doctor about your options. The doctor will help you determine the best time for surgery.


For more on diagnosing and treating cataracts, contact Optique Vision at our office in Albany, New York. You can call (518) 302-2106 today to schedule an appointment.

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