Cataract Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the pupil of the eye. A normal lens is clear. It lets light pass to the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. As a cataract develops, it becomes harder for a person to see. Vision may become cloudy or blurry, and colors may fade.
When cataracts develop they usually occur in both eyes. One eye may be worse than the other, however, because each cataract develops at a different rate. Some people with a cataract may not even realize it. Their cataract may be small, or the changes in their vision may not bother them very much. Other people cannot see well enough to do the things they need or want to do.
Can cataracts be prevented?
Most people develop cataracts with age. However, a good, balanced diet, protection from the sun, and restraint from smoking can delay the development of cataracts.
Will I need to wear glasses after my cataract surgery?
During traditional cataract surgery a single focus lens is implanted. Often this gives patients good distance vision but still requires them to wear reading glasses for near vision. However, at Helm Vision Group, patients have the option to use the PanOptix® trifocal lens implant which provides full-range vision with less reliance on glasses.
What are possible side effects of cataract surgery?
As with any surgery, discomfort, infection and swelling are possible, but very few patients experience serious problems. Your surgeon may prescribe medications for these effects. Retinal detachment is also rare. However, if you experience excessive pain or vision loss, report these symptoms to your surgeon immediately.
Who Is Affected?
Most cataracts are related to aging. At least half of Americans ages 65 to 74 have a cataract. About 70 percent of those age 75 and older have this condition. However, other conditions can increase the risk of developing cataracts. Examples include diabetes, smoking and alcohol use, and prolonged exposure to sunlight.
How Is a Cataract Treated?
Surgery is used to remove a cataract when vision loss interferes with everyday activities such as driving, reading, or watching TV. If you have cataracts in both eyes, the surgery will be performed on each eye at separate times, usually 2 weeks apart.