Cataracts in Everett, WA
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts affect millions of people, including more than half of all Americans aged 60 and older. A cataract is a painless clouding of the eye’s natural lens that is caused by a buildup of protein. A cataract can form in one or both eyes. If left untreated, they worsen over time and interfere with everyday activities such as reading or driving. Night vision is usually most affected. When cataracts are in their early stages, people are helped by brighter lighting. As they get worse, however, most people require surgery.
If you suffer from cataracts in Everett WA and nearby areas, call today to schedule an appointment at Physicians Eye Clinic.
In addition to aging, there are other risk factors that increase a person’s chances for developing cataracts:
- Excessive sun exposure
- Family history of cataracts
- High blood pressure
- Excessive alcohol use
- Radiation from x-rays and cancer treatments
- Previous eye injury or surgery
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
In rare instances, infants are born with cataracts, which may be the result of an infection, such as rubella, contracted by the mother during pregnancy. They may also occur in combination with some other birth defect. Occasionally, infants develop them shortly after birth.
At Physicians Eye Clinic we have extensive experience diagnosing and surgically treating cataracts. We usually see cataracts during your regular comprehensive eye exams. Once we suspect a cataract, we check tonometry to measure the pressure inside the eye.
The most common tonometry test is to send a puff of air onto the eye to flatten the cornea and test eye pressure. At this point, we’ll test for sensitivity to glare and your color perception (both of which are affected by cataract lens clouding).
Symptoms of Cataracts
Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision, along with these cataract symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble with night vision
- Fading of color
- Increased sensitivity to glare
- Halos surrounding lights
- Double vision in the affected eye
- A feeling as if there is a film over the eye
- A need to frequently change eyeglass prescriptions
- Yellow-tinged vision
Early cataracts can sometimes be treated with nonsurgical methods, including the following:
- New corrective-lens prescriptions
- Anti-glare sunglasses
- Magnifying lenses
- Brighter lighting
If they begin to interfere with reading ability, work, night driving or other daily activities, cataract surgery may be recommended. If they are in both eyes, surgery is performed, usually 4 to 8 weeks apart, on one eye at a time. Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure in the United States.
Prevention of Cataracts
Although cataracts cannot be prevented, their development can sometimes be delayed by the following:
- Wearing wide-brimmed hats to block sunlight
- Wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays
- Not smoking; not drinking excessively
- Eating a diet high in antioxidants
Left untreated, cataracts cause serious visual impairment. In most cases, however, they can be effectively treated with surgery once they become intrusive in everyday life.