Cataracts are one of the most commonly encountered causes of vision issues. With this condition the lens inside the eye starts to become cloudy which can lead to blurry vision and oftentimes bothersome glare. Cataracts typically start out very mild and then progressively worsen as time goes on. Fortunately for those suffering from this condition, it is a relatively simple and easy issue to correct, especially when it is caught early on.
Cataracts are most commonly an age-related condition but other risk factors may also increase your risk of developing a cataract earlier on in life such as smoking, traumatic eye injuries, past ocular surgeries, excessive alcohol intake, use of corticosteroid medications, high blood pressure, obesity, and excessive exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays.
Symptoms and Signs
Similar to many progressive conditions, cataracts typically start off very mild, slowly building up without most patients even knowing that they have them. Over time blurry or foggy vision will start to arise as the cataract matures. Other common symptoms include difficulty driving at night time due to increased glare from headlights and higher sensitivity to artificial and natural light. Sometimes patients will also notice a change in how certain colors are perceived.
Typically in the early stages cataracts do not require treatment and can be monitored on a yearly basis at your comprehensive eye exam. Small changes to your eyeglass prescription can oftentimes help with your symptoms and improve your vision. Eventually the cataracts reach a point where glasses will no longer provide a benefit at which time cataract surgery can be a great option. Cataract surgery is typically a relatively straightforward procedure where the cloudy lens in the eye is removed through a process called phacoemulsification and then a new, clear lens implant is inserted making the vision much brighter and clearer. Your optometrist at Illinois Valley Eye Care will help to determine if cataracts may be affecting you and guide you through the right steps to make your vision as clear as possible.