Cataracts affect millions of people all over the world, but if you’ve never experienced them yourself, chances are you don’t know too much about them beyond the fact that they blur vision. This eye condition is actually quite interesting, and the process of treating it even more so. Here’s a quick list of facts to start your research!
– Cataracts are made from clumps of protein.
This protein exists inside the lens, along with water and other nutrients. While the protein is usually set in such a way as to allow light to pass through uninhibited, over time it may begin to stick together forming a film over the lens. These protein clumps grow and grow until they begin to block light.
– Given enough time, everyone will eventually develop cataracts.
That’s right, everybody. Cataracts are an unfortunate part of getting older. In fact, 1 in 6 Americans over 40 have cataracts, and more than half of Americans over the age of 70 are either living with them or have had them removed.
– There are many ways to reduce the risk of developing cataracts prematurely.
Even though they are indeed inevitable, changing certain habits can help immensely to prevent them developing too early. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, such as sunlight, plays a huge role in the development of cataracts. Always wear a wide-brimmed hat and 100% UVA and UVB protected sunglasses when going outside. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption reduces risk significantly. If you have diabetes, make sure to keep control of your blood sugar levels.
– Cataract surgery is one of the safest procedures performed today.
Unsurprisingly, it is also one of the most frequently performed surgeries. The development of new technology and surgical methods has allowed the procedure to become incredibly effective and produce reliable results.
During the surgery, your eye is numbed, and the affected lens is broken up into small pieces. The fragments are gently removed, and the lens replaced with an IOL (intraocular lens). IOLs act like a contact lens, but rather than sit on the surface of your cornea, they are implanted inside your eye. Depending on your vision needs, you can choose a premium IOL that corrects myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and even presbyopia. You can also opt for a standard IOL, but you will likely still need glasses after surgery.
– There are different kinds of cataracts.
While they all produce the same result, how the cataracts are formed determines what “type” of cataract they are. Other than the most common “age-related” cataract, there is the “secondary” cataract which forms as a complication either due to surgery or certain diseases that affect the eye such as glaucoma or diabetes. A “traumatic” cataract may develop after a serious eye injury. “Congenital” cataracts occur in babies and children due to genetics. A “radiation” cataract forms after being exposed to certain kinds of radiation, as the name implies.
Want to know more about cataracts and cataract surgery? Contact Associates in Ophthalmology in Livingston, NJ to schedule your cataract consultation today!