what are Cataracts?
Cataracts are the clouding of the eye's natural lens. This phenomenon is usually brought on by the natural aging process but can be triggered by certain medications and underlying health conditions. Over time, cataracts get worse, leading to vision loss and/or complete blindness. But, if diagnosed early enough, long-term damage can be prevented. At Baton Rouge Eye Physicians, our team of ophthalmologists is highly trained in detecting and managing cataracts. Contact our Baton Rouge, LA office today to arrange a comprehensive eye exam to learn about all your treatment options.
What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of Cataracts?
SYMPTOMS OF CATARACTS
The typical first symptom of cataracts is increasingly dim eyesight that isn’t helped by a person’s current lens prescription. Often, patients start to notice they require more light in order to read. Other symptoms sometimes include reduced night vision, a sudden increase in glare or halos, and seeing with a general yellowish cast. Cataracts don’t cause any pain, and they are generally there for many years before they produce any vision impairment. For most patients, the condition begins to develop at some point between the ages of 40 – 50, but many patients don’t suffer from any symptoms until their 60s.
CAUSES OF CATARACTS
A cataract is an unavoidable product of the normal aging process and the natural degradation of the proteins that comprise the lens of the eye. This process occurs in all men and women; however, there are further behavioral and health factors that might have an impact. Behavioral issues, such as using tobacco products, drinking too much or too often, and heavy sun exposure, have been associated with cataracts, as have some health conditions such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Other factors that can worsen the condition include:
- Some medications, like steroids
- An inherited predisposition for cataracts
- Degenerative myopia
- Trauma to the eye
- Some types of eye surgery
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diagnosis and treatment for cataracts
Cataracts are diagnosed with a thorough eye exam. This usually involves a series of simple tests that allow our team to assess your ocular structures. If a cataract is detected, we will go over the various approaches for treatment. Therapies will be selected based on the stage of the disease. When detected early enough, many patients manage very well with new prescription eyeglasses or contacts. Those with later-stage cataracts, however, generally require an invasive solution, like laser or traditional cataract surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cataracts
What causes cataracts?
A cataract is the fogging of the natural lens of the eye. This gradual loss in transparency typically results from the aging process. As we get older, the lens becomes less flexible, thicker, and more cloudy. Additionally, some medical conditions can cause tissues within the lens to break down, further complicating the condition of the lens.
How long do cataracts take to develop?
How quickly or slowly a cataract forms will vary from person to person, depending on a number of factors, including age and medical history. Usually, however, they are caused by age and will slowly develop over several years.
Can cataracts be seen in the mirror?
While they are not always visible, in some cases, the cataract can become cloudy enough to be seen by others or even in the mirror. This is due to the continued opacification of the lens as the cataract develops.
Clear Vision After Cataracts
Our team of specialists at Baton Rouge Eye Physicians is dedicated to providing individualized care to each of our patients. If you are over the age of 40 and have noticed any darkening of your eye or changes in the clarity of your vision, contact our office in Baton Rouge, LA today. Detecting and treating cataracts in their early stages is key to preserving healthy vision.
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