Imagine trying to see through a cloudy window; everything looks blurry or hazy. This is the effect cataracts can have on your vision. A cataract clouds the eye’s natural lens, which is made up of water and protein. In a healthy eye, the protein is aligned systematically and keeps the lens clear, allowing light to pass through it and hit the retina. As you age, the protein can clump together, clouding a small area of the lens, which forms a cataract. As time passes, it can increase in size and cloud more of the lens, causing cloudy vision and making it a challenge to see clearly.
Age-related cataracts can begin to develop in people around the age of 40. However, during middle age, most cataracts are not large enough to affect vision. After age 60, cataracts become more obtrusive. Although cataracts are a normal symptom of aging, there are actions you can take to help prevent them and effective treatment options if they do manage to cloud your vision.
Symptoms of Cataracts:
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Reduced intensity of colors
- Increased sensitivity to glare from lights, especially at night
- Increased difficulty seeing at night
- A brownish tint in vision
In addition to age, other risk factors for cataracts include diabetes, smoking, alcohol use, and prolonged exposure to sunlight. Protect your vision by avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol use, and wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to help block ultraviolet sunlight.
If you develop a cataract and your eye doctor determines that you need surgery to improve your vision, have no fear! In about 90 percent of cases, people have better vision following cataract surgery. Cataract surgery involves replacing the natural lens with an artificial one called an Intraocular Lens Implant (IOL). The lens requires no care and becomes a permanent part of your eye. You will not feel or see the new lens. Post surgery, the eye will need time to heal and adjust to the new lens, but you can return quickly to everyday activities.
Learn more about the IOL options available at Illinois Eye Center by scheduling a free cataract evaluation today and begin your journey to clearer vision.