Getting clear on cataracts

More than half of all Americans over the age of 60 will deal with cataracts at some point in their lives. It’s a clouding of the clear lens of your eye, which makes everyday activities such as reading, driving and night vision especially difficult. But how much do you know about cataracts? Here, we break down the symptoms, causes, treatments and more to help you understand this painless but bothersome condition.

What is a cataract?

A cataract can affect one or both of your eyes and worsen over time if left untreated. It forms in the lens of the eye, which is behind the iris or the colored part of the eye. When light passes through your eye, the lens focuses that light, producing images on the retina. The retina functions like the film in a camera, showing clear, crisp images in a healthy eye. As we age, the lenses in our eyes become thicker and less flexible. Tissues break down and begin to cloud the lens, getting worse over time.

What are the symptoms?

Cataracts lead to a progressive but painless loss of vision. You may not notice the cloudiness until the cataract grows larger. Symptoms include blurred vision, trouble with night vision, sensitivity to light and glare, “halos” surrounding lights, double vision in the affected eye, a feeling of “film” over the affected eye, a need to change eyeglass prescriptions often, and yellow-tined vision.

What causes cataracts?

Age is a primary factor for the development of cataracts. Eye injury, previous surgery, genetics, other eye conditions, diabetes and the long-term use of steroid medications are causes as well. Prolonged exposure to sunlight, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol are factors that increase your chances of developing cataracts.

How is it treated?

See your eye doctor if you notice changes in your vision or if you think you may have a cataract. During your exam, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history and perform various tests to diagnose the condition.

Cataract treatment begins with conservative methods such as corrective-lens prescriptions, anti-glare sunglasses, magnifying lenses and brighter lighting. When a cataract begins to interfere with the ability to read, work, drive at night or other daily activities, surgery may be the next option. It’s an outpatient surgery that’s performed one affected eye at a time several weeks apart.

If you are concerned about your vision or have additional questions about cataracts, call our Everett office at (425) 259-2020 and set up a consultation.

Posted in: Cataract

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Physicians Eye Clinic
3930 Hoyt Ave
Everett, WA 98201
Tel: (425) 259-2020

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Gallery of Eyewear
  • Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm