What Are Cataracts?

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If you’re over 50, you need to know about cataracts. Cataracts are a serious vision problem that worsens over time, making fast treatment especially important. 

If you think you might have cataracts, keep reading to learn more about the condition, how to know if you have it, and how it’s treated.

An elderly man rubbing his eye
A close-up picture of an eye

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that develops over time. This cloudiness is the result of a breakdown of the proteins in your eye’s lens. The lens of the eye is meant to refract or bend light into the eye, allowing you to see. Cataracts minimize this ability which can then lead to blurry vision and dull eyesight.

Treatment for cataracts involves replacing the damaged lens with an artificial lens.

Common Symptoms of Cataracts

It’s important to watch for the symptoms of cataracts to ensure that you can catch the issue as soon as possible. Vision with cataracts can be described as looking through a dusty windshield. 

Some common cataract symptoms include:

  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Dull color vision
  • Dim vision
  • Poor distance vision
  • Poor reading vision
  • Light sensitivity

If you’ve been experiencing the symptoms listed above, it’s essential to seek treatment as soon as possible to address the still developing cataracts.

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?

Getting treatment for cataracts in a timely manner is crucial for protecting your eyesight. If you think you may have cataracts, you may be diagnosed using the following tests:

Slit-Lamp Exam

This test relies on a special slit-lamp microscope to allow your eye doctor to examine your cornea, lens, and iris.

Retinal Exam

During this test, your eye will be medically dilated so your doctor can more clearly see the back of your eye.

Visual Acuity Test

This test is meant to gauge the sharpness of your vision and is similar to a general vision test.

Types of Cataracts

Not all cataracts are the same. While we usually think of blurry vision with cataracts, some cataracts may not result in any symptoms. Cataracts are generally categorized based on their cause as explained below.

Age-Related Cataracts

Age-related cataracts are the most common form of cataracts. Age-related cataracts can further be separated into categories based on where they’re located: a nuclear sclerotic cataract is located in the eye’s nucleus, cortical cataracts are located in the cortex, and posterior subcapsular cataracts are located in the back of the eye.

Congenital Cataracts

While most cataracts are age-related, even babies can have cataracts. Babies and children can both develop cataracts in rare cases. While some congenital cataracts do not affect eyesight, others will need to be treated with cataract surgery. Congenital cataracts are often found in both eyes.

Traumatic Cataracts

Traumatic cataracts can be caused by eye injuries. These cataracts may appear immediately after an injury or accident or they may appear much later. The most common types of injuries leading to traumatic cataracts are chemical injuries, penetrating injuries, and injuries caused by blunt objects.

Secondary Cataracts

Finally, secondary cataracts can be caused by other health conditions, such as diabetes. This type of cataract can also be caused by certain medications, including certain steroids. If you have a condition that puts you at risk of secondary cataracts, you need to let your eye doctor know and take extra care to watch for symptoms.

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Unfortunately, there is only one way to treat cataracts: eye surgery. Cataract surgery works by replacing the cloudy lens of your eye with an artificial intraocular lens. First, an ultrasound is used to break up the build-up in your lens, and then the clouded lens is carefully removed and replaced. You will have several options when it comes to which artificial lens to use. You and your eye doctor will work together to determine the best option for you.

A person undergoing eye surgery

Clear up Cloudy Vision with Cataract Surgery in McAllen at Gelman Vision

If you’ve been experiencing cloudy vision, dim vision, or double vision, it’s time to talk to your McAllen eye doctor about cataracts. Cataract treatment can be the key to seeing clearly again.

Don’t wait to get a diagnosis for your cataracts. Getting cataract surgery soon may be essential to preventing further vision loss. You can schedule your appointment with a compassionate McAllen eye doctor at Gelman Vision.

If you think you might have cataracts, come see your McAllen eye doctor for treatment.

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