The eyes are sophisticated organs that use natural lenses to focus and create images. These sensitive structures can develop a medical condition known as cataracts, which is the abnormal clouding of the lenses. The obstruction diminishes the person’s vision, which makes it difficult to see at night and during other low-light conditions. In addition to blurry vision, cataracts cause images to appear less bright and colorful.
In some cases, the cataracts may not need to be removed immediately. If your lifestyle is not impacted, you can improve your vision by altering your eyeglass prescription, using bifocals or adjusting the lighting. If your cataracts worsen, however, you may want to consider cataract surgery.
The inside of your eye operates like the lens of a camera, focusing light on the retina and adjusting it so that you can see things that are nearby and far away. The eye lens is comprised mostly of water and protein, which is arranged in a way to stay clear so that light can pass through it. During the aging process, some of the protein may clump together and cloud portions of the lens. Over time, these clumps grow and cloud over a larger portion of the lens, making it harder to see.
Along with aging, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity can exacerbate cataracts. In addition to a family history of the condition, other risk factors include eye injuries and consuming too much alcohol, as well as prolonged use of statin and corticosteroid medications. When left untreated for a prolonged period, cataracts can cause inflammation, as well as increased intraocular pressure that may lead to glaucoma.
As cataracts worsen, the condition can affect your daily activities, independence and quality of life. Advanced cataracts can cause vision loss that jeopardizes your driving privileges. The condition may also increase sensitivity to glare, which can make it difficult to work or enjoy leisure activities outdoors. While cataracts are part of the normal aging process, they can be treated with cataract surgery.
One of the most common surgical treatments in the country, cataract surgery is simple and relatively convenient. During the surgery, the cloudy natural lens is removed. A clear synthetic lens known as an intraocular lens is then implanted. Nine out of 10 people regain very good vision that typically exceeds 20/40.
If you have blurred vision that makes it difficult to read, drive at night or engage in work and/or hobbies, it may be time to consider cataract surgery. Schedule an eye examination at Live Oak Ophthalmology, with offices in Wilmington and Supply. During this meeting, we can discuss your medical history, review the results of the exam and determine the best course of treatment to help you regain your vision. Contact us today to book your appointment to learn more.