Cataracts: What They Are and How to Treat Them
Cataracts are an eye condition in which your eye's lens becomes cloudy and impacts your vision. In this guide, our team at East Memphis Optometry will explain why this happens, how it can affect you, and how to address it.
What Causes Cataracts?
Your eyes have a lens that focuses the light entering them onto the retina. The cornea plays a role in this process, but it is the lens that provides the real focusing power, allowing the retina to send a clear image to the brain. This lens is supposed to be clear. However, sometimes the proteins of the lens break down and change structure, which causes the lens to become cloudy. Normally, this happens as we age. However, it can also occur if your eye has been injured, after eye surgery, or due to genetics.
How Do Cataracts Affect Your Life?
Some people with cataracts never even know they have them as they don't always produce symptoms. For others, the story doesn't have such a happy ending. In the most basic sense, cataracts can prevent you from seeing well or cause complete vision loss. Since the lens is cloudy, it interferes with the image that is sent to your brain. It can cause blurry vision, trouble seeing at night, sensitivity to bright light, faded colors, double vision, halos around lights, and more.
As you can imagine, such symptoms can make it difficult to handle regular tasks and activities, such as reading. It can also make life a little less enjoyable, as you don’t experience vivid colors. Some studies have shown a link between cataracts and an increased risk of dementia, as parts of your brain aren’t stimulated when you can't see.
How to Address Cataracts
The most important step is to visit your eye doctor every year. Cataracts tend to develop gradually, but you might not notice symptoms until you are already experiencing some level of vision loss. Your optometrist can watch for potential signs at each regular eye care exam to ensure they are diagnosed early on.
Be sure to make them aware of any new symptoms, such as blurry vision or double vision. If cataracts aren't causing any symptoms, there may be no need for treatment. If they have, eyeglasses, habit changes, and other conservative methods can help. Once they begin to significantly impair your vision, it's time to consider cataract surgery. This procedure removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear artificial one.
Contact Our Eye Doctor in Memphis, TN
Be proactive against cataracts by scheduling an eye care appointment with our team at East Memphis Optometry at (901) 683-4529.