Cataracts, the clouding of the eye’s lens, are a common eye condition affecting millions of people annually, especially those over age 50. Since cataracts can lead to blindness, it’s important to treat them as quickly as possible. Fortunately, modern medical technology provides surgical options that can not only cure cataracts, but also improve eyesight in general. If you or a family member receives a cataracts diagnosis, take some time to understand this condition, particularly what causes cataracts and how they are cured.
What causes cataracts?
Behind the eye’s iris and pupil is the lens, a clear capsule that passes light onto the retina and allows us to see. Over time, the lens loses its translucency and vision isn’t as clear as it once was. To the outside world, cataracts appear as a cloud in the pupil of the eye. Sometimes, the eye will appear discolored or blotchy. Cataracts are a natural part of aging, and most people will develop them eventually. However, they can develop early in life as the result of nutritional deficiencies or injury, or as a side effect from unrelated eye surgery.
What cures cataracts?
The best way to treat cataracts and restore good vision is with laser surgery to replace the natural lens with a synthetic one. On the plus side, the new lens will cure other conditions like near-sightedness, astigmatism or any problem related to the old lens. Think of the synthetic lens as a contact lens permanently placed in the eye, one that never needs to be removed!
In most cases, the eye surgeon will meet with you a few times before the surgery to assess the condition, prescribe the appropriate lens and review your medical history. If both eyes have cataracts, you will receive two surgeries a few weeks or months apart, which will give you a chance to recover and get used to the new lens. Some people require time to adjust to sharper, clearer vision. The surgery can cause side effects like excessively dry eyes, a problem that is usually treated with regular use of artificial tears or prescription drops.
Many patients find a new chapter in life after cataract surgery. Better vision and less reliance on reading glasses can open new doors to exercise programs, travel and daily tasks that weren’t accessible before. Although the idea of eye surgery can be frightening, remind yourself of the high success rate and big payoff. It’s possible that your vision plan or insurance company might cover the procedure, making it an affordable way to improve quality of life.