Cataracts are the leading cause of treatable blindness. They are a clouding of your eye lens, causing changes in your vision. A cataract can form in one eye at a time or both eyes at the same time.
Your eye lens consists of usually clear tissue that directs light into the retina, a nerve cell layer that lines the back wall of the inner eye. In the retina, light is transformed into nerve signals that send information to your brain. Cataracts are considered a vision disorder and are usually treatable. However, they are also common among the elderly population.
Most cataracts are related to aging, but there are certain types that develop due to surgery or other health problems. Cataracts tend to develop increasingly worse, causing vision problems that might interfere with your daily routine. It is crucial to talk with your health care provider about any changes in your vision and the available options for treating them.
To establish whether you have cataracts, your health care provider will assess your symptoms and medical history and conduct an eye examination. Your doctor might conduct various tests, including:
Retinal exam: When conducting a retinal exam, your doctor dilates your pupils by adding drops to make it easier to examine the retina. Using a special device known as an ophthalmoscope or a slit-lamp, the eye doctor examines your lens for symptoms of a cataract.
Slit-lamp exam: A slit-lamp enables your eye doctor to look into the structures at the front of your eyes in a magnified way. The magnifying object is known as a slit lamp because it utilizes an intense light line – a slit – to shed light on your lens, iris, cornea, and the area between your cornea and iris. The slit enables your eye doctor to see the structures in small parts, which makes it easier to identify any small abnormalities.
Visual acuity test: This diagnostic test uses an eye chart to determine how well you can read a succession of letters. Your eyes are tested one at a time while the other one is covered.
The only way to reverse cataracts is eye surgery to replace your lens with an artificial one. However, it is rarely essential to have surgery immediately after your diagnosis. The decision to have surgery depends on how much the cataracts are affecting your daily life and your overall health. If you are still able to read or drive, you can decide to wait before having surgery. Delaying cataracts surgery does not affect how well your vision recovers, as the procedure entails replacing your lens with a new one.
Currently, there are no medications that directly reverse or slow the development of a cataract. If you have other underlying conditions that could contribute to cataracts – such as high blood pressure and diabetes – it is important to take the prescribed medications and follow your specific treatment plan.
There are things you can do to help slow cataracts development and adapt to living with the condition if it does appear, including:
Wearing sunglasses to protect against UV rays.
Wearing anti-glare sunglasses.
Ensuring your contacts or glass prescriptions are up-to-date.
Using magnifying devices to read or perform other tasks that strain your eyes.
If you feel any changes in your eyes, the specialists at Lakhani Vision Care in Marietta, Georgia, can help diagnose and treat your condition and safeguard your vision. Our goal is to provide patients with a comprehensive vision and ocular care. Call us at (770) 509-9932 to schedule an appointment.