A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye preventing light rays from passing through it easily. This results in a clouding and blurring of vision. For many patients, cataracts start out slowly and have little effect on vision at first. But, as the cataract becomes denser, so does the impact on vision. Cataracts are a common cause of vision problems among people in their 50’s and 60’s and they are actually a major cause of senior eye problems and vision loss. More than 20 million Americans age 40 and older and more than half of all Americans develop cataracts by age 80.
Cataracts & Vision
Having clear vision and seeing “normally” requires that light be able to pass through the optical structures of your eyes and properly focus on the retina. The two primary structures that are responsible for refracting, or bending light so that it can focus on the retina, are the cornea, which is the outermost clear curved “lens” that is visible when looking at your eye from a side view and the crystalline lens, which is located behind the colored part of the eye, or the iris, and is not directly visible. Both the cornea and the crystalline lens need to be perfectly clear in order for you to have good vision. If you are in good health and have not had chronic eye infections, inflammation or had any trauma to your eyes, the cornea is likely to maintain its clarity throughout your life. The crystalline lens however undergoes a number of changes that progress as we age. These aging changes can affect your vision.
Usually by about the time we reach the age of 40 years old, most of us begin to experience some of the visual effects that result from changes in the crystalline lens. Even if you have had “good eyes” and “normal vision” all your life, your vision is likely to begin to change in a number of ways. As we progress from our 40’s, to our 50’s and then our 60’s and beyond, the most obvious changes to our vision occurs as a result of these changes in the crystalline lens.
The two most common changes that occur in the crystalline lens are:
- A loss of flexibility, called Presbyopia, which makes it harder to read and
- A loss of optical clarity, which can cause a Cataract.
Cataracts are a common problem among the patients the doctors at Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates see each day and are a problem experienced by a great number of people just like you. Fortunately, with cataract surgery & lens implants we can successfully restore cataract vision loss for almost everyone.
Symptoms of Cataracts
People with cataracts often experience symptoms such as a clouding or blurring of their vision and feel they need a change of eyeglasses. Patients frequently notice and are bothered by it not being as easy to see well and comfortably in dim illumination, such as for night driving. In addition colors look faded and you may be bothered by glare, haloes, light sensitivity and a continuing decrease in your vision. These are the typical symptoms of cataracts. If you are experiencing one of more of these symptoms please be sure to let us know at your eye exam.