Cataracts are one of the most common vision conditions to affect American adults. Chances are you or a loved one will develop cataracts at some point in life, so it is important to have accurate facts about their causes and treatments. Read on as the team at Laser Eye Center of Miami sets the record straight about cataracts in this post.
Cataracts Are Always Caused By the Aging Process
Most cataracts can be blamed on the natural effects of the aging process. With advancing age, proteins that make up the eye’s lens start to clump together, creating cloudy areas. Over time those cloudy areas spread over the lens, interfering with vision.
However, aging is not the only cause of cataracts. Although uncommon, babies can be born with cataracts. Cataracts can also develop in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Risk factors for early onset cataracts include excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, pre-existing diseases like diabetes, traumatic eye injuries and smoking.
Cataracts Can Be Cured With Eyedrops
The only proven way to treat cataracts is to surgically remove the eye’s lens and replace it with an artificial implant. Eyedrops or medications cannot treat cataracts.
Cataract Surgery Is Painful
The thought of undergoing surgery can be scary, but rest assured that it is not a painful experience. It is one of the safest and most routine procedures you can have. Prior to surgery, your eyes will be completely numbed so you do not feel any pain during the operation. Patients rarely report anything more than mild pressure or a few moments of slight discomfort.
It Takes Months to Recover From Surgery
Patients are often surprised at how quickly they recover from surgery. Some recover clear vision within a few hours of surgery. Others notice an improvement in vision a week or two after surgery.
Cataracts Can Come Back After Surgery
The eye’s natural lens is removed during surgery, and the artificial lens that replaces it cannot develop a cataract. What can happen after surgery is the capsule, or membrane, that holds the lens implant can become cloudy and cause symptoms similar to those of a cataract. This is known as posterior capsular opacification, and it is quickly cleared up with a short, in-office laser procedure.
Every Cataract Must Be Treated Immediately
It is your choice if and when to undergo surgery for cataracts. Depending on the severity of your cataracts and whether they interfere with activities of daily living, you and your doctor may choose a “watch and wait” approach in which your cataracts are closely monitored without any treatment until symptoms develop or worsen. Cataract surgery is always elective, so you will never be forced to have the procedure if you are not ready.
If you have questions about cataracts that were not answered in this post, Laser Eye Center of Miami invites you to reach out to us for clarification. Contact our practice today!