Cataract Care at Sites Vision Clinic
If you've ever been driving only to realize that a fog bank has snuck up on you, casting the road ahead behind a veil, you have some idea of the effect cataracts can have on your vision. This common eye disease, in which the lenses become progressively more opaque, can progress so slowly that you aren't aware of any changes in your eyesight at first. But untreated cataracts are actually the leading cause of blindness around the world. The good news is that you don't have to let cataracts rob you of your eyesight, thanks to prompt diagnosis and treatment recommendations from Sites Vision Clinic.
What Are Cataracts?
The word "cataract" actually comes from the Latin word for "waterfall" -- and if you can imagine trying to see through a waterfall, you can imagine what a severe case of cataracts can do to your vision. It's an astonishingly common condition, afflicting some 22 million Americans aged 40+ and causing more cases of blindness than the other leading causes (diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and macular degeneration) put together. The most obvious manifestation to onlookers is a white, milky or cloudy zone in the normally-clear lens of the eye. The proteins that make up a cataract are in the eye from the very beginning, but they're usually arranged in a pattern that allows let to enter the eye unimpeded. If these proteins start to gather together into a solid clump, they lose their transparency and form a cataract. A cataract may form toward the front center of the lens (nuclear cataracts), toward the rear center of the lens (subscapular cataracts) or in "spokes" that grow from the outer edge of the lens toward the center (cortical cataracts).
Causes and Symptoms
The outstanding majority of nuclear cataracts are simply the result of age; in fact, most people over the age of 80 have cataracts. As the decades go by, ordinary exposure to ultraviolet rays may cause a gradual increase in a cataract's size and severity. Subscapular and cortical cataracts may develop more rapidly, and they may associate with factors such as diabetes, steroid use, strong myopia or underlying retinal disorders. Unnecessary UV exposure can worsen any kind of cataract. While you may not notice any significant symptoms at first, cataracts can eventually cause:
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred or low vision
- Changes in color perception
- "Halos" and other strange patterns around bright lights
Cataract Management From Our Optometrist in Elkton & Clarksville
Currently, there are no approved methods for dissolving or reversing cataracts (although research in that direction shows promise). Even so, our optometrist in Elkton & Clarksville can help you enjoy optimal vision many years to come, cataracts or no cataracts. Regular eye exams and vision testing can help us identify the first traces of a cataract in the making. At that point, we will start monitoring your cataract growth closely from visit to visit (making annual visits even more important). Prescription eyewear, updated as necessary, can correct early-stage blurring of vision. We can also advise you on best practices for minimizing a cataract's growth such as giving up smoking (a possible aggravating factor), controlling diabetes, avoiding steroid medications, and wearing sunglasses that offer full UV protection.
Despite your best efforts to curb your cataracts' development, there may come a time when non-invasive measures can no longer compensate for your vision loss. That's when we may co-manage surgery to replace one or both of your diseased lenses. This procedure is amazingly quick, easy, effective, and painless, especially compared to the elaborate surgeries of the past. The eye surgeon we refer you to will numb the eye and use either a scalpel or a laser to access the lens. Ultrasound then breaks up the lens for easy removal, and an artificial lens is installed in its place. We will then administer regular follow-up exams to ensure that you enjoy the best possible results from your new lease on crystal-clear eyesight.
Let Us Help You Overcome Cataracts
Don't let cataracts cloud your quality of life. Call sites Vision Clinic at (931) 647-5237 to schedule an eye exam and get the expert help you need!