Cataract Causes and Symptoms
Cataracts are an amazingly common eye disorder, to the point that over 50 percent of all Americans have experienced them by the age of 80. Unfortunately, they're also the most common worldwide cause of blindness by quite a large margin. The good news is that lifestyle changes may slow the progression of this clouding of the eye's lens. Additionally, today's advanced eye surgery techniques can remove cataracts quickly and painlessly. The earlier your cataracts are diagnosed, the more strategies you can bring to bear against them. Here at Hobson Eye Associates, we can provide vital diagnostic, pre-operative, and post-operative care for cataract patients in Kennesaw, GA.
To better understand cataracts, you first need to understand how the lens of the eye works and what it's made of. The lens acts as a focusing device for incoming light, allowing clear images to shine through to the retina, where they're relayed to the brain for processing and interpretation. This means that the lens must be completely transparent in order to do its job properly. But in addition to water, the lens also contains proteins, delicately configured to allow the lens to retain its transparency.
When something happens to alter the proteins' distribution, they can thicken into clumps and become opaque. As a result, less and less light is able to enter the eye, and the light that is able to enter cannot be focused into clear images. Symptoms include increased sensitivity to glare, the loss of night vision, and the appearance of strange "halos" or "sparkles" around street lamps or car headlights. Additionally, you may have increasing trouble reading, performing detailed work, or distinguishing between different colors.
There are actually a few different types of cataracts. Nuclear cataracts, which develop in the center of the lens, are normally age related. Cortical cataracts, which start at the outer edge of the lens and work their way inward, are more common in diabetics. Subcapsular cataracts, which begin at the back of the lens, are also associated with diabetes, as well as with steroid use, myopia, and retinitis pigmentosa. Smoking, UV exposure, and alcohol abuse are also linked to cataract development and progression.
Cataract Diagnosis and Treatment at Hobson Eye Associates
Regular eye exams at Hobson Eye Associates can ensure that any signs of cataracts are detected as early as possible. Any circumstances that may be aggravating your cataracts, such as diseases or medications, may need to be addressed separately to slow the progression of the cataracts. We may also recommend lifestyle changes such as nutritional therapy, smoking and alcohol cessation, and the use of UV-blocking glasses/sunglasses whenever you're outdoors.
If you need surgery to remove troublesome cataracts, we can refer you to a clinic that offers state-of-the-art techniques, including laser surgery, to replace the diseased lens so you can see clearly. Following surgery, we can provide the necessary aftercare and follow-up exams to make sure your eyes regain optimum vision. Contact Hobson Eye Associates to learn more!