years ago, the word cataract
instilled a lot more fear than it does now. This all changed because
of advancements in surgical procedures; in 40 years we have gone from
traumatic eye surgeries with uncertain results, to simple 20 minute
inpatient surgeries that have few complications. Today, cataract
surgery is the most common inpatient surgery worldwide.
develops in the natural lens of our eye that is located directly
behind the coloured part of our eye (iris). Normally, this lens is
clear like a window, but over time this lens can begin to become more
yellow and cloudy. If this happens, we call it a cataract.
There are varying
degrees of severity and types of cataracts, but not all cataracts
need to be removed. Certain types of cataracts progress quickly over
a period of months and are often removed quickly in order to restore
clear vision. Other types of cataracts are so slowly progressing that
it may take decades before they start to cause blur and may not ever
need to be removed.
Who are at risk?
Cataracts are most
often seen in people over the age of 60. They are so common that
everyone gets some degree of cataract formation if they live long
increasing age, certain conditions increase the likelihood of
cataract formation. Diabetes for instance, can cause cataracts at an
earlier age. Long term steroid use can also cause early cataracts.
Myotonic dystrophy, atopic dermatitis and eye injuries are also on
the list of conditions that can cause early cataracts. In addition,
studies have shown that increased UV exposure can increase the risk
for cataract formation.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
Symptoms of cataracts include: blurred vision, halos and glare. Cataracts develop without pain or redness. They can also cause small shifts in glasses prescriptions.
What can be done?
If the cataracts
begin to affect the quality of one's vision, cataract surgery is how
cataracts are treated.
earlier however, not all cataracts need to be removed.
The decision about
getting cataract surgery is completely between yourself and your eye
doctor. For instance, if your eye care provider tells you that your
cataracts are becoming increasingly cloudy, but you are content with
your vision, surgery will not be performed. By the same token, if
your eye care provider does not see dense cataracts, but your
cataracts are making your ability to do every day tasks difficult,
surgery is considered.
What is a secondary cataract?
cataracts are removed, a secondary cataract can develop. This type of
cataract is much different because it is a cloudiness to the bag or
capsule that the new artificial lens sits in. If a secondary cataract
forms, it is easily removed with a laser.
to UV light can increase the chances of cataracts, a good pair of
sunglasses can help to prolong cataract formation. Of course wearing
sunglasses will not guarantee having no cataracts in your lifetime,
but it may prolong their emergence. If you are experiencing any cloudiness or blurring to your vision, call us right away at (403) 526-2020 so that we can determine if cataracts or other causes might be hindering your vision and to get you the help that you need.