As we age, we can expect to experience changes in our eyesight. In Canada, the most common cause of vision loss is cataracts. Seventy five percent of people with cataracts are aged over 60.
Cataracts cause the lens in your eye to become cloudy. Cataract symptoms include difficulty seeing at night and sensitivity to bright lights. If left untreated, symptoms will get progressively worse.
Thankfully, there is an effective surgical procedure that can correct this common problem. Read on for our guide to cataract symptoms and treatment.
WHAT ARE CATARACTS?
Cataracts are cloudy patches and discolouration that develop in the lens of the eye. Over time, these patches grow in size and start to interfere with your everyday vision. Regular eye exams are important as your eye doctor can spot the signs early.
As the condition progresses, you may notice the following cataract symptoms:
Blurred or foggy vision
Poor night vision
Seeing halos around lights
Feeling a film is covering your eye
Finding sunlight or other lights to be overly bright
If left completely untreated, they can cause vision loss. However, cataracts can be easily treated.
WHO IS AT RISK OF DEVELOPING CATARACTS?
Everyone is at risk of developing cataracts. You may get them in one eye or both, but the condition is not contagious. A healthy lifestyle can help to lower your risk of developing cataracts.
People with a family history of cataracts, those who take steroids, and people who have had an eye injury are at greater risk of developing them. Sometimes they develop slowly but in other individuals, the condition can progress rapidly.
HOW TO TREAT CATARACTS
When symptoms first appear your optometrist will prescribe new glasses to help you achieve a good level of vision. However, at some point, your vision will deteriorate and you will need to consider surgery.
Your optometrist will then refer you to an opthalmologist to discuss surgery.
The cataract causes damage to the lens. During the surgery, the damaged lens is removed and an intraocular lens implant is inserted in its place. The entire procedure takes approximately 30 minutes.
You can expect your vision to be blurry for a few days. Your opthalmologist will give you some drops to reduce the risk of infection or high pressure in the eye. You will need a few checkups with your surgeon to monitor your progress.
About a month after your surgery, you can book an eye exam and pick out some new glasses! The surgery often corrects people's distance vision, but you may still need glasses for reading and distance.
HOW TO PREVENT CATARACTS
Currently, there is no proven way of preventing cataracts. Most people will develop them if they live long enough. However, certain behaviours within our control may reduce our risk.
Losing weight if we are obese
Reducing our blood pressure
Protecting eyes during sports
Wearing UV protective sunglasses
Eating antioxidant-rich foods
None of these will prevent cataracts from forming, but they can slow down the progression and may lower your chances of developing them.
INVESTIGATE CATARACT SYMPTOMS TODAY
Cataract symptoms may be common as we get older but you still need to get them checked out. If you notice any of the symptoms above, get an eye exam as quickly as possible. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you about the best way to protect your vision and treat the problem.
The team at Bellemore Optometry and Eyes on Tecumseh is ready and waiting to investigate your symptoms. Our experienced eye doctors will conduct a comprehensive examination to understand your condition. They'll help you get the best treatment.