Philadelphia Treatment Guide
What It Is
A cataract is a clouding of the eye lens due to chemical changes that typically accompany the natural aging process. As you age, the composition of the lenses in your eyes, which are made primarily of water and protein, changes. The structure of the protein fibers, which ordinarily allow light to pass through without interference, breaks down. Some of the fibers clump together, clouding areas of the lens and hindering vision.
A previous eye injury, a family history of cataracts, diabetes, kidney disease, smoking, and high blood pressure increase your risk of developing a cataract. There is also evidence that excessive lifelong exposure to ultraviolet light can lead to cataracts. Wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, refraining from smoking, and eating a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables are believed to help reduce your risk.
Blurry or cloudy vision; noticing that colors appear faded; sunlight, headlights or lamps may appear too bright or a halo may appear around lights; poor night vision; double vision; and increased nearsightedness
The only effective treatment is surgery to remove the clouded lens. A small incision is made on the side of the cornea. A thin ultrasound probe is then inserted into the eye to deliver ultrasonic vibrations that soften and break up the lens, so that it can be removed by suction. After the natural lens has been removed, it is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). An IOL is a clear, plastic lens that requires no care; you won’t feel or see it, and it will improve your vision.
Living With Cataracts
Wearing sunglasses to reduce glare, improving the lighting conditions at home, and limiting nighttime driving may help sufferers cope with blurry vision, but when vision becomes so impaired that it interferes with usual activities, it’s time to consider surgery. Luckily, cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery performed in the United States, and Philadelphia is full of specialists who can help.