The most common cause of vision impairment in those over the age of 40, cataracts are a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, leading to cloudy, blurred vision that becomes increasingly more pronounced as time passes. Left untreated, cataracts may even result in blindness. Fortunately, cataracts are a relatively easy condition to correct, particularly when caught in time.
Cataracts are generally associated with aging, but other factors may also be a part of the picture. Smoking, a history of eye injuries, past eye surgery, excessive alcohol intake, usage of corticosteroid medicines, high blood pressure, obesity, and prolonged and excessive exposure to UV rays all increase the risk of developing cataracts.
Symptoms and Signs
Like other progressive conditions, cataracts start out small, making it likely that many patients won’t even know they have them until specific signs and symptoms begin to appear. The blurring of vision is usually the first sign, and patients often think it’s just another sign of aging. Other symptoms include difficulty driving at night due to increased glare from the headlights of other drivers and an elevated sensitivity to both artificial and natural light.
The most effective treatment option for cataracts is a simple surgical process that can usually be performed in your optometrist’s office or on an outpatient basis in your local medical center. The majority of patients who opt for this procedure regain eyesight levels of 20/20 or 20/40. Your optometrist can perform a retinal examination and a visual acuity test to determine the extent of the problem and develop an effective treatment plan.
If you suspect that recent vision problems may the result of cataracts, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Illinois Valley Eye Care in Spring Valley, IL for more information on restoring your vision through appropriate treatment options.