C. Troy Allred, OD & Dr. Amanda Alves

Cataracts

Eye Condition

The ocular lens rests behind the pupil of the eye and acts as the focusing mechanism for images projected onto the retina.  This lens, much like the lens of a camera, experiences wear and deterioration throughout a lifetime.  When the lens hardens and produces an opaque or cloudy effect on vision it is referred to as a cataract.  The proteins that constitute the makeup of the lens may clump together, forming a small cataract that can grow with time.

The symptoms associated with cataracts can include cloudy vision, changes in color, increased glare when looking at light, and a general difficulty seeing at night.

What Causes Cataracts?

There are over 4 million

Americans who experience cataracts at some point during their lives.  The major contribution to the development of cataracts is quite simply aging.  Most people affected by the disorder are over the age of sixty.  The following types of cataracts further explain some of its causes:

  • Traumatic Cataracts – cataracts can form following an injury to the eye.  Please note that this may occur long after the initial injury.
  • Radiation Cataracts – subjection to radiation increases the risk of a cataract developing.  Being conscious about exposure to UV rays will help lower the instances of cataracts following radiation.
  • Congenital Cataracts – typically found in both eyes, this type of cataracts forms at a younger age in childhood or infancy.  The effects may be minor and possibly have no impediment to vision.
  • Steroid Induced Cataracts – long term use of systemic or topical steroid medications increase the risk of developing certain types of cataracts.

Identify Contributions to Cataracts

While cataracts are often naturally occuring, there are several lifestyle practices that can enable or inhibit the onset of the condition.  Long periods of exposure to the sun and UV rays over your lifetime will increase the possibility of lens clouding and cataract formation.  Use proper  sunglasses whenever possible and invest in polarized eyewear, and begin theses habits early.

Excessive consumption of cigarettes and alcohol will increase the propensity of cataracts.  Proteins in the eye have a lessened ability to properly break down when influenced by drugs or alcohol.

Diabetes is a major factor that increases the risk of cataracts.  Most other eye diseases will also increase the propensity of cataracts

Treatments for Cataracts

There is a high rate of success in diagnosing and treating cataracts.  Sometimes the impairment that cataracts produce can be remedied with an accurate prescription and the application of eyeglasses or contact lenses.  

As the severity gradually advances, cataract surgery will be completed.  This is a process by which the lens is removed from the eye and replaced with an artificial lens.  Success rates are very high for this procedure with over 90% of patients experiencing marked improvement in their vision.  

We can help with your Cataracts; visit us to learn how we can diagnose, manage, & treat your cataracts.