What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, and eventually obstruct vision.
Our eye functions like a camera. The natural lens focuses images onto the back of the eye so we can see clearly, much like the lens of a camera focuses images onto film for a clear picture. At birth, our natural lens is clear, but as we age it yellows and hardens and eventually becomes cloudy. The cloudy lens is referred to as a cataract. At first, this clouding doesn’t interfere with vision, but gradually began to impact how well you see. Left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. Most cataracts occur as a result of the natural aging process, but cataracts can also form as a result of injury or as a complication of glaucoma and diabetes. In rare cases, they may be present at birth.
Age-related cataracts generally begin to appear in the early to mid-50s. As the lens becomes cloudier, vision becomes more blurred. Some people are not even aware of the gradual deterioration in their vision. Symptoms that could indicate the presence of a cataract include:
- Faded or dull colors
- Problems with glare
- Sensitivity to light
- Halos around oncoming lights when driving
- Difficulty reading in low light
- Blurred or double vision
- Frequent need to change your glasses prescription.
Cataract surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. You should consider surgery when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with your daily activities. The cloudy lens (cataract) will be replaced by an artificial lens implant, called an intraocular lens (IOL). Until recently, all IOL’s were set for one distance; requiring most patients to need glasses after cataract surgery. Today, there are many replacement lens implant options available. Dr. Liegner will help you decide which lens is best for you, based on your individual needs and lifestyle.