Is Every Day a Cloudy Day? Cataracts.
Cataracts affect over 22 million Americans over the age of 40. That number is estimated to swell to over 30 million by 2020. At Millennium Eye Center, we have extensive experience with cataract surgery, the replacement of the cataract-clouded lens with an artificial lens. Here’s some more information on this common condition.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts develop slowly. This is usually news to the patient, who doesn’t notice the increasing cloudiness in his or her vision. Maybe that’s why cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. In fact, there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy combined.
A cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in the lens of the eye. The lens is the transparent film that focuses the images as seen by the eye on the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. There is no reversing of the process. A cataract begins when proteins in the eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. When these clumps enlarge they begin to interfere with vision by distorting the passage of light through the lens. The result is increasing cloudiness that affects vision, especially at night.
Who gets cataracts?
Cataracts are incredibly common in older people. It’s estimated that by the time a person turns 80 they have a 50/50 chance of either having cataracts or having already had the surgery to replace a clouded lens. There is no solution to cataracts other than surgery.
What should I watch for?
Cataracts are a progressive clouding of the lenses. Their progression is painless. These are the symptoms of developing cataracts:
- Trouble with night vision
- A feeling as if there is a film over the eye
- Blurry vision
- Increased sensitivity to glare
- Less brilliance in different colors
- Halos surrounding lights
- Double vision in the eye with the cataract
- Frequently changing eyeglass prescriptions
Fortunately, cataract surgery is very simple and very successful. In a future post, we’ll describe the surgery and the process for placing the artificial lens.
Is your vision becoming cloudy? You probably have a cataract on one or both of your eye’s lenses. Call us at Millennium, 312-996-2020, and let’s take a look.