By Dr. Carter H. Gussler, MD and Dr. John C. Gross, MD, Tri-State Ophthalmology –
Your vision’s fine and you’ve never felt healthier. Do you still need an eye exam? Absolutely! Routine are an important part of preventative healthcare — regardless of your age or your physical health. Many eye and vision conditions present no obvious symptoms. Diagnosing and treating eye problems early can prevent vision loss. This report will cover the most common reason patients visit the eye doctor: cataracts.
Cataracts are the most common, and the most treatable, cause of impaired vision. Cataracts cloud the clear covering of the eye, or lens, causing vision to become blurry. Cataracts can also be responsible for glare, halos around lights at night, loss of depth perception, and difficulty reading or driving. Cataracts can affect one eye or both eyes and, if left untreated, can cause blindness.
Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts Include:
. Clouded, blurred or dim vision
. Increasing difficulty with vision at night
. Sensitivity to light and glare
. Seeing “halos” around lights
. Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
. Fading or yellowing of colors
. Double vision in a single eye
The four main types of cataracts that can develop in one or both eyes include: nuclear (affect the center of the lens), cortical (affect the edges of the lens), posterior subcapsular (affect the back of the lens), and congenital (cataracts you are born with).
eye exams Researchers suspect that there are several causes of cataracts, such as smoking and diabetes. Or, it may be that the protein in the lens just changes from the wear and tear it takes over the years. The cause of your cataracts may be unknown; however, there are certain risk factors that can increase your chances of developing cataracts.
The following is a list of risk factors that may increase your chances of developing cataracts:
. Age: Cataracts are part of the normal aging process. Most Americans over the age of 60 suffer from cataracts.
. Medical Conditions: Diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and metabolic abnormalities can all lead to cataracts.
. Injury to the Eye: A traumatic blow to the eye, intense heat or cold, and other injuries can cause cataracts to form.
. Ultraviolet Radiation: Long-term exposure to the sun can accelerate the development of cataracts.
. Oral Steroids and Other Medications: Oral steroids and various medications have been linked to cataracts.
. Smoking: Studies have shown that smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts than nonsmokers, and that quitting can reduce the risk for developing cataracts.
. Family History: If someone in your family has been diagnosed as having cataracts, your risk of developing them increase.
Conservative measures can be taken to improve early signs of cataracts, such as: new eyeglasses, anti-glare sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, adequate/brighter light while inside, using magnifying lenses, and limiting night driving. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
Early detection of cataracts is crucial to successful treatment. If you have any combination of the risk factors stated above you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. Even if you don’t have any vision problems, it is important to schedule yearly comprehensive eye exams with an eye doctor. This is an easy step you can take to help protect your vision and overall health.
Tri-State Ophthalmology | 2841 Lexington Ave Ashland, KY | (606) 324-2451