Does your vision seem blurry or hazy? Has it become harder to complete everyday tasks because you can’t see?
These are some of the more common symptoms that come with having cataracts. Cataracts are an almost inevitable part of the aging process that everyone will develop.
When you have cataracts, it may seem like you’re losing your way of life, but with cataract surgery, you can regain clear vision. Dr. Cheng is skilled and experienced in all avenues of cataract surgery and diagnosis.
WHAT ARE CATARACTS?
Before you have cataracts, you can see clearly. Cataracts form in the lens of the eye, which needs to be clear to control how much light enters the retina.
If you have a cataract, the lens becomes cloudy due to proteins in the lens clumping together. With cataracts, your vision will get blurry if there isn’t enough light filtering into the retina.
Cataracts disrupt your sight by making the lenses cloudy. With a cataract, you can no longer see through the lens easily. You may not even realize you have a cataract at first! Some patients can have cataracts for years or even decades without noticing.
A cataract can start with gradual blurry vision, or only some spots that you can’t quite see out of. Over time, your cataracts will start to worsen. When this happens, you may start to notice that your vision is severely impacted. Some people have cataracts in both eyes.
If you have cataracts in both eyes, one cataract may be worse than the other. You could also only have one cataract in one eye.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CATARACTS?
There are many signs that go along with having a cataract. Although the most common sign is blurry vision, other signs include:
- Cloudy or Blurry Vision.
- Trouble Seeing At Night.
- Light and Glare Sensitivity.
- Seeing “HALOS” Around Light.
- Double vision.
If you experience any of these signs or any sudden vision changes, talk to Dr. Cheng. Although they sound like they could be cataracts, the only way to know for sure is to see your eye doctor.
Dr. Cheng will rule out any serious eye conditions or diseases during an eye exam.
WHAT CAUSES CATARACTS?
Aging is the most common cause of developing cataracts. During middle age, it becomes more common to have hardened, thicker lenses. The tissues in the lens can break down and form proteins that make the lens cloudy. Over time, this makes your vision blurry. Your blurry vision will only get worse as you continue getting older. It may sound young, but you can start to develop cataracts as young as 40 or 50 years old!
Even if you have cataracts at this age, you may not realize it, since they probably won’t affect your sight. But the blurry vision and other signs that go with cataracts will get worse with time.
If you’re older than 60, you’re more likely to experience issues with your vision from cloudy lenses. If you’ve had any eye trauma or previous eye surgery, these can also cause cataracts by damaging the lens and limiting the light that reaches the retina.
If you’re a diabetic, you’re more likely to develop cataracts since high blood sugar can increase fluid in the retina. Reduce your risks of developing cataracts by keeping your blood sugar as under control as you can! Even the medications you take can increase your risk of developing cataracts! Be careful if you take steroids or need radiation treatment. Talk to Dr, Cheng if you’re concerned about these side effects.
You can even be born with cataracts or develop them as a child. This is most likely to occur after an eye injury or an eye infection.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CATARACTS?
f you have cataracts that are in the early stages, you may be able to get away with only needing prescription glasses. Talk to Dr. Cheng if you’ve increased your prescriptions frequently but your vision no longer feels like it’s improving. This is a common sign that it’s often time for cataract surgery. Cataracts only affect the lens, which makes some people think it’s fine to delay surgery. Most cataract surgeons recommend having cataract surgery when cataracts start to seriously impact your life. That means if you can no longer take part in your favorite hobbies or activities like fishing, cooking, or sewing because you can’t see, you may want to consider surgery.
Cataract surgery replaces your cloudy natural lenses with an artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens. The intraocular lens (IOL) is what allows you to have clear vision after cataract surgery!
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CATARACTS?
Dr. Cheng starts with numbing eye drops. This is to make sure you never feel any pain during the procedure. Dr. Cheng will then use a speculum to hold the eye open before creating a small incision in the cornea. They use an ultrasound probe to break up the natural lens.
Then, a suction tool gently removes the pieces of your natural lens. You won’t feel anything during this! Dr. Cheng will insert the artificial lens and place a protective patch over the treated eye.
WHAT KIND OF IOL SHOULD I CHOOSE?
There are many kinds of IOLs available. You should choose an IOL based on your lifestyle and needs. You can even find IOLs with coatings to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays!
The lenses are different prescriptions to fit your needs. Dr. Cheng will measure your eye before cataract surgery. This allows her to choose the best lens size to match your eyes.
Premium IOL options include:
- Multifocal IOLs Multifocal lenses have added magnification. This is in different parts of the lens to help expand your range of vision. Having more magnification allows you to see things clearly at all distances without needing glasses.
- Accommodative IOLs Accommodative IOLs are flexible, changing shape like natural lenses. They move with the muscles around the eye. This helps you see up-close and at a distance. They curve when the muscles constrict, improving focus for close viewing. The lenses flatten as the muscles loosen to focus on seeing distances.
- Toric IOLs People with astigmatism have eyes that are not perfectly round. These patients may get toric IOLs to correct astigmatism with custom prescriptions.
WHAT KIND OF IOL SHOULD I CHOOSE?
After your surgeon clears you to go home, you’ll need to have a family member or close friend drive you home. Don’t think you can drive yourself home because you can’t. Take the time while you’re on your way home to rest! Rest is the best thing you can do after having cataract surgery. Your eye may feel dry, irritated, or scratchy, but these should go away after a few days.
Avoid any strenuous activities, especially anything that will make you bend over at the waist. This means no intense exercising, at least not right away! You can go for light walks around the block once you feel up to it but leave it at that to be safe.
You should also be very careful with your eye when you’re showering or bathing, since you shouldn’t get any water in your eyes. Shower with your eyes closed to prevent any water getting in your eyes while your eye heals.
The full recovery takes about 8 weeks, but it may take longer or less depending on your needs. Don’t forget to take the eye drops prescribed by Dr. Cheng to reduce inflammation and prevent infection exactly as recommended.
Following all instructions from Dr. Cheng is the best way to ensure you’ll have a healthy and easy recovery after cataract surgery!
WHAT IF I NEED CATARACT SURGERY IN BOTH EYES?
If you need cataract surgery in both eyes, you’ll only have surgery on one eye at a time. For the best possible results, you’ll need to wait several weeks to a month between procedures. This period allows the first eye to heal so you can see before the second procedure.
Having both eyes done at the same time would be very dangerous! You’d be almost entirely unable to see anything and would likely need around the clock care while both of your eyes heal. Since that’s not very realistic, you’re much better off having one eye done at a time. It’s worth it!
HOW CAN I PREVENT CATARACTS?
There is no way to guarantee you will never develop cataracts. But the good news is, there are things you can do to try to prevent their early development.
- If you are 40 or older, you should have annual dilated eye exams. Dr. Cheng will dilate your pupils with drops to widen the pupils. She then uses a magnifying tool to look at your eyes. This allows her to assess the optical nerve and retina. They will look for signs of diseases, as well as cataracts.
- Another thing you can do to try to stop the early development of cataracts is live a healthy lifestyle. If you’re a smoker, stop smoking. If you’re a diabetic, keep your blood sugar under control schedule a cataract screening today!
- Make sure to only drink alcohol in moderation. Whenever you’re outside, wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Too much time in the sun can directly contribute to early cataract development.
- Eat foods that contain antioxidants and vitamin A, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help with eye and vision health.
Concerned that you may have a cataract or need cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening by Dr. Cheng today!
FAQS ABOUT CATARACTS
No. You should not feel any discomfort. Your eyes will be numbed using anesthetic eye drops and you will be given light sedation.
You will spend only a few hours at the surgery center and will go home the very same day.
Each patient is unique and recovery time varies accordingly. Typically, patients see well enough to perform daily-activities the day after the procedure, and fully recover in about 2 weeks. Strenuous and physical activities should be avoided for 2 weeks after the procedure.
Night-vision improvement is one of the goals and benefits of the procedure but we will examine you to ensure you are fully recovered enough to do this highly demanding visual activity
No. Once a cataract has been treated it cannot return, because your existing lens is removed. However, over time, some patients may experience “Cataract-like symptoms,” such as cloudy vision. This conditionis known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO), sometimes referred to as “secondary cataract.” This occurs when the capsule which holds the lens becomes cloudy. It is easily treated with a simple procedure called YAG posterior capsulotomy that is quick, painless, and most patients see an improvement in vision clarity within a few days.
Although highly unlikely, an IOL can be removed/replaced with if needed.