Cataract General Information
What are cataracts?
A cataract is when a cloudy and opaque formation forms in the lens of the eye. In order to see clearly, the lens must be clear, so light can pass through without obstruction. When cataracts begin to form, this can interfere with normal vision. Though there are many types of cataracts, most are related to aging. When significant, the cataract may blur vision and affect the patient's quality of life. Many patients describe cataracts as though they are looking through a dirty window. Patients frequently report blurred vision, trouble driving at night and difficulty reading.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
- Painless blurry or cloudy vision
- Light sensitivity
- Glare and haloes
- Yellowed or faded colors
- Double vision in one eye
- The need for additional light for activities like reading
- Frequent changes to eyeglass prescription
What causes cataracts?
The lens of the eye is made up of water and protein. As part of the normal aging process, the lens continues to grow layers on its surface and harden. Overtime, protein can clump together and build up on the surface of the lens, resulting in cloudy formations that may obstruct your vision. There are other, more rare types of cataracts not related to aging. Those types of cataracts can be congenital or occur after a traumatic eye injury.
How do I know if I have cataracts?
The only way to know for certain that you have cataracts is to have an eye exam with a qualified eye doctor. The doctor will dilate your eyes to widen your pupils and get a clear view of your lens within your eye. Only an ophthalmologist can correctly diagnose if you have cataracts and prescribe a treatment regimen. It is recommended to get a baseline exam at age 40 and to continue to monitor your eye health with your ophthalmologist. If you have a history of eye disease, you should work with your ophthalmologist to have more frequent eye exams. Early detection and diagnosis of cataracts is important, particularly in working to prevent any loss of sight.
What are the treatments for cataracts?
If your vision is only slightly blurry, a change in your prescription lenses may alleviate the vision problem. If you are still experiencing problems with your vision, then there is a surgical treatment for cataracts. Since the problem is on the lens of the eye, then the lens can be surgically removed, and replaced with an artificial, clear lens, also called an intraocular lens, or IOL for short. Your ophthalmologist can further discuss the surgical treatment for cataracts along with the IOL. Typically, this eye surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure.
Cataract surgery offered at Illinois Eye at Millennium Park
One of the many eye surgery specialists at Illinois Eye at Millennium Park can assist you with your symptoms and diagnosis of cataracts. Our surgical eye doctors are highly skilled and use state-of-the art techniques to treat cataracts. Learn more about cataract surgery at Illinois Eye at Millennium Park.
Corneal Infection (Keratitis)
What is keratitis?
Keratitis is a condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed. The cornea is the outermost protective layering of the eye, protecting the iris and pupil. Keratitis may be caused by a variety of things including irritation from a contact lens, trauma, chemical exposure, thermal injury or infection. If left untreated, corneal infections can lead to blindness. The sudden appearance of symptoms is usually a sign that it is ocular keratitis, not another eye issue. Long-wear contacts can often be to blame for a corneal infection.
What are the symptoms of keratitis?
- Pain, often sudden
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Corneal haze
How do I know if I have keratitis?
Typically, the symptoms will appear very quickly. People that wear contacts can often experience keratitis. If contacts are not taken out or changed regularly, they can cause irritation, and eventually an infection on the cornea. Individuals with a lowered immunity to eye infections, such as those with diabetes, alcoholism or poor nutrition, are also more susceptible to a corneal infection. It is important to see your ophthalmologist immediately if you suddenly experience any of the symptoms of corneal infection. Your ophthalmologist will need to test your eye, by scraping a small amount of material from the cornea, to test if there is indeed an infection.
Once your ophthalmologist has confirmed the diagnosis of keratitis, treatment can begin immediately. The type of treatment depends on the underlying cause of the corneal infection. Several different treatment modalities include antibiotic eye drops, antifungal treatment and/or possibly corticosteroid therapy. Since keratitis can be either bacterial or fungal, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from your ophthalmologist so that you follow the appropriate treatment protocol. You should always consult with your eye care specialist if you have any symptoms of keratitis, and confirm your diagnosis before you start using any medication. If you wear contact lenses, you should be sure to always use clean and proper handling to avoid any infections of the eye or cornea.
Cornea surgery offered at Illinois Eye at Millennium Park
One of the many eye care specialists at Illinois Eye at Millennium Park can assist you with your concerns about corneal infection. Call today to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing pain, light sensitivity or any other symptoms.