What are cataracts?

A senior woman with thick framed glasses and a blonde bob smiles while posing for the camera Cataracts are very common – it is thought that more than half of people who are over 80 have had cataracts. If you have noticed that your vision has been getting cloudy or you have been having trouble seeing at night, cataracts may be the problem.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts can develop in children and can even appear in newborns, but most often they occur in older people, as the lens of the eye ages. The tissue in the lens starts to break down and clumps together, making vision foggy. Other symptoms of cataracts are:

• Double vision

• Brighter and brighter light needed when reading

• Difficulty seeing at night

• Seeing a “halo” around lights when you drive at night

• Sensitivity to bright light

What can be done for cataracts?

Cataracts don’t typically cause pain, but being unable to see right is reason enough to have them taken care of! If your cataract symptoms are not serious, you may just need a new prescription for glasses or contacts. However, cataracts typically get worse, until surgery is needed to get rid of them. They usually develop in both eyes, but one eye may be worse than the other.

Surgery for cataracts only takes about an hour and is one of the safest surgeries performed. It is done with anesthesia that numbs the eye so that you can stay awake but not feel anything. The surgeon will remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens, which is permanent and won’t need to be replaced. After the surgery your vision will be blurry for a few days, but after a few weeks you will notice an improvement. You may still need to wear glasses or contacts.

Can cataracts be prevented?

Cataracts are a normal part of aging, but there are some things you can do to help keep your eyes healthy. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, and quit smoking. Also, make sure to have your eyes checked regularly.

If you are starting to notice problems with your vision, it is important to have it checked. Contact Richens Eye Center in St. George, UT, or Mesquite, NV, for an appointment. Contact us at (435) 986-2020 today!

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