Will Having Cataracts Hurt?
Cataracts are an eye condition that many people have to deal with as they get older. There are a variety of eye conditions that older individuals are at risk for.
Cataracts are probably the most common eye condition. The good news is that they present very few symptoms early on and don’t cause any physical discomfort.
But that also means that they can be hard to detect. As they get worse, you may find your eyesight becomes significantly impaired.
That’s one of several reasons why it’s important to have regular eye exams by the time you turn 40. But there are also things you can look out for to tell if you might have cataracts.
What are Cataracts?
Due to aging, the chemicals in our bodies change. It’s not known the exact process that leads to cataracts. But what is known is that chemical changes cause the cells in the eye’s natural lens to become more opaque.
This creates a sort of clouding or a cataract. Cataracts are extremely common. While they’re most frequently associated with aging, they can actually occur at any point in a person’s life.
Rarely, some people are even born with congenital cataracts. Certain factors may also put you at risk for developing cataracts earlier in life.
This includes factors like having diabetes, using tobacco products, and poor diet. While you can’t prevent yourself from developing cataracts, the best way to lower your risk is to lead a healthy lifestyle. But even if you’re healthy, you may develop cataracts, especially if you’re over the age of 40.
While cataracts don’t cause any real physical discomfort, they do have visual symptoms. These symptoms are subtle when your cataracts are first starting to develop.
They become more intense the more advanced they become. These symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Intense glare
- Halos around light sources
- Decreased ability to see the contrast
- Light sensitivity
- Difficulty seeing in low light
Often, these symptoms are mistaken for presbyopia or age-related farsightedness. But cataracts don’t actually decrease your ability to see up close.
You may develop a cataract at the same time as having presbyopia. For this reason, reading glasses may appear to reduce symptoms.
But with cataracts, if you have trouble reading, it’s often due to an inability to see fine details without direct lighting. It can be quite difficult to tell if your visual symptoms are a sign of cataracts or presbyopia.
The only way to diagnose them or any eye condition is to have an eye exam with an eye care professional.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Because you’re at increased risk for cataracts once you turn 40, you should have regular eye exams once you’re 40. For most people, this means an eye exam every two years or so.
Your eye doctor may want you to have more regular eye exams if you’re at a higher risk. If you have cataracts, your eye doctor may not recommend treatment right away.
Cataracts develop quite slowly over time. This may mean that treatment may never be necessary, depending on your age and symptoms. Once your cataracts begin affecting your quality of life, most doctors recommend treatment.
The only way to treat cataracts is to have them removed through cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is a very common, low-risk procedure.
In fact, it’s the most commonly performed medical procedure in the US. During surgery, your natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an IOL, or intraocular lens.
IOLs can be used to correct other vision problems like presbyopia or astigmatism as well. There are many advantages to having the procedure.
If cataracts are making it difficult to perform daily tasks, talk to your doctor about having cataract surgery.
Tired of living with the daily effects of cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Berg Feinfield Vision Correction in Burbank, CA today!