What They Are and What to Do About Them

Is your vision ever cloudy or blurry, like you’re looking through a foggy window or the world has turned into an impressionist painting? If so, you may have cataracts. Although not dangerous, cataracts can make it hard to go about your daily life as they make common tasks, like driving and reading, difficult and dangerous.

Luckily, there are ways to both prevent and treat cataracts. Once you notice that your vision is impaired, it’s time to come see us at Ventura Eye Institute. We’ll work with you to create a custom treatment plan built around keeping and restoring your vision. Michael Ragen, MD, FACS and Kyle Huyhn, MD are both expert ophthalmologists and will make sure you receive the best treatment and care possible.

What are cataracts?

The lens of your eye focuses the light rays that pass through it on their way to the retina. This helps create clear, sharp images of objects positioned at various distances. The lens is mostly made up of water and proteins. As we age, the lens becomes less flexible, less transparent, and thicker. Pieces of protein and tissue also start to break down and clump together, clouding your vision.

At the start, the clouding is hardly noticeable – the light from a bedside lamp may start to seem extra dim or the headlights of vehicles going the opposite direction seem to have more glare. As a cataract continues to develop, the clouding becomes denser and involves a bigger part of the lens. Some of the other vision changes you may notice include:

As the clouded area grows, it becomes noticeable in the appearance of your eyes. Severe cases of cataracts appear to obscure the pupil.

Cataracts generally develop in both eyes, but may not grow evenly. This imbalance can throw your vision off even more as your eyes send differing images to the brain. If left untreated, cataracts can lead to partial or total blindness.

Cataract causes

Most cataracts are age-related. In fact, the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center has found that by age 65, over 90% of people have begun to develop cataracts. Additionally, half of the people between 75 and 85 have lost some vision due to a cataract. Other causes include congenital cataracts, in which children are born with cataracts or develop them during childhood. Cataracts can also develop from other medical conditions or after a traumatic injury to the eye.

Preventing cataracts

As with most conditions, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing cataracts. To start, stop smoking, and limit your alcohol consumption to normal levels. Eat a healthy diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables. If you have a condition that can lead to cataracts, like diabetes, make sure to properly manage the disease and keep it under control.

UV light might contribute to cataract development. Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB light whenever you spend extended time outside. Also, make sure to keep up with your regular eye exams. Dr. Ragen and Dr. Huyhn will be able to identify cataracts right away, helping you start a treatment plan before the cataracts have a chance to worsen.

Treating cataracts

Treatment depends on how developed your cataracts are. Often, early cataracts can be overcome with a proper glasses prescription or bifocal glasses and contacts. As the cataract continues to grow, you can try to add more lighting to your home and keeping a magnifying glass handy for reading.

Eventually, cataracts will begin to interfere with your ability to live your daily life, with reading and driving being some of the most impacted factors. At this point, surgery is the only solution.

Thankfully, cataract surgery is highly successful and done on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home the same day. Dr. Ragen or Dr. Huyhn will remove your current lens and replace it with a man-made replacement. Most patients report clearer vision afterward.  

If you have cataracts, don’t suffer through blurred and foggy vision. Ventura Eye Institute can help you get your vision back. Call or book an appointment at our Camillo office today. 

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