You may be surprised with your diagnoses of cataracts, as many cases are caught during annual eye exams before any symptoms appear. A great number of people over the age of 80 have cataracts, mostly as a natural process of aging, but they can appear as much earlier in life. Genetics and lifestyle can be contributing factors, but they can also be caused by harmful UV light, trauma, radiation, steroids, and even other eye diseases.
In normal eyes, light passes through a clear lens and focuses on the back of the eye. This spot, known as the retina, gathers images you see and passes them on to the brain, creating eyesight. With cataracts the vision can become cloudy, like a window with a sheer curtain pulled closed. Changes in the fibers of the lens causes this cloudiness, and its effect can range from minimal to severe loss of eyesight.
Most cataracts don't need to be treated until it affects the quality of life. If you can see well enough to drive and perform your daily routines, see one of our optometrists to find out anything that you should be doing to preserve your eyesight and slow the progress of the disease. Once the cataract has advanced enough that it prevents you from living a normal life, it's time to have surgical treatment.
In a cataract operation, a small slit is created in the eye. The surgeon will then remove the clouded lens and implant a synthetic lens, called an intraocular lens, in its place. Over 90 percent of cataract patients see immediate improvement in their eyesight after cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is usually done in an outpatient clinic, not as an inpatient in the hospital. You'll arrive with a companion an hour or so before your scheduled surgery. A series of eye drops will be administered which will prep your eye for surgery, killing all germs that may be on the surface while anesthetizing the surface of the eye. Once your eye has been prepped, a device will be placed around it to keep the eyelids open, and the operation itself takes only a matter of minutes.
Recovery is a simple process, but you should follow the doctor's orders completely. You'll need to wear a patch over the affected eye for a night or two, to prevent you from scratching or rubbing your eye in your sleep. Don't lift anything over 10 pounds, as this puts a strain on the eye and can damage the healing incision. Follow all other instructions the doctor may give you. Complications are rare, and most people are completely healed within a few weeks, with most feeling healed during the first week.
Contact Total Eyecare in Elko, NV Today!
Our office is dedicated to caring for you and making sure you enjoy the clearest eyesight possible. If you have any questions about cataracts, or any other eyesight-related question, please call our office and schedule an appointment. Call us today at (775) 738-8491!