Cataracts are a clouding of the natural lens of the eye, which eventually will result in loss of vision. In the majority of people, cataracts are a natural part of the aging process. They typically form so slowly that individuals with the first stages of cataracts are commonly unaware of it.
Around the age of 40, our lenses start becoming dysfunctional, losing their flexibility, and creating a condition called presbyopia, or difficulty with reading vision. This loss of flexibility is due to proteins in the lens changing, creating hardening and discoloration of the lens.
As the lens ages further (+55 years), those degraded proteins create even more cloudiness and dysfunction, becoming a cataract. When this begins to affect activities of daily life, such as driving and reading, surgery to remove the lens (and replace it with an artificial lens) is often recommended. This will allow light to pass through to the back of the eye and improve your vision.
Ophthalmologist surgeon Dr. Alison R. Tendler of ART Vision believes in the importance of open communication and full discussion of all your vision options during you cataract evaluation. The use of advanced diagnostics and technologies are available to ensure the best possible outcome for your vision surgery. Contact our Sioux Falls, SD office today to arrange a comprehensive exam and see how we can help improve your vision.
Cataracts Explained Symptoms
The main symptom of cataracts is increasingly foggy vision for driving, seeing road signs, and reading that isn’t made clear by an individual’s current eyeglasses or contact lens prescription. People often begin to realize they require brighter light to be able to read. Other sight-related symptoms sometimes include restricted night vision, seeing more glare or halos, and eyesight with a general brownish/yellowish tone. Glasses correction may also be changing more frequently. Cataracts do not cause pain and are generally present for several years before they produce any vision impairment. Usually, the condition starts to develop somewhere between the ages of 40 – 50; however, a great number of patients do not experience cataract symptoms prior to their 60s.
Cataracts Explained Causes
A cataract is the result of the age-related, natural breakdown of the proteins within the eye's lens. This process occurs in all people, though there are other lifestyle and health issues that may have an impact. Lifestyle choices, like smoking and vaping, drinking (excessive consumption), and prolonged exposure to UV rays have been shown to correspond with developing cataracts earlier, as have health conditions, like diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure. Further factors that might worsen the condition include:
- High myopia (nearsightedness)
- Injury to the eye
- Certain medications, such as steroids
- Previous eye surgery
- A family history of cataracts
There are three common types of cataracts explained below:
Nuclear Sclerosis Cataract (NS) – The most common type of cataract, NS cataracts are age-related and caused by the hardening and yellowing of the lens over time.
Cortical Cataract – These white, opaque cataracts appear in the cortex (the outer edge) of the lens, affecting the water content of the eye and causing fissures.
Posterior Subcapsular Cataract (PSC) – As the name suggests, PS cataracts appear on the posterior (back) surface of the lens, interfering with reading and causing halos.
Cataracts Explained Diagnosis
To find out if your vision is impacted enough to qualify for cataract surgery, Dr. Tendler will conduct an in-depth eye exam and any ancillary testing that may need to be performed. She will discuss the value of having your vision restored, including the impact on quality and clarity, and as well as review options fro how you would like to see your world after surgery, being mostly dependent upon or less dependent upon glasses for your everyday activities.
Cataracts Explained Treatment Options
When Dr. Tendler determines a patient has visually significant cataracts, she her team will explain the different options for treatment and opportunities they have to see the world better. Although BASIC lens-based surgery is mostly covered by individual insurance plans, REFRACTIVE lens-based surgery will have an additional elective/out-of-pocket fee. This is one of the most important choices people have at the time of cataract surgery - how they want to use their vision afterward, or how dependent or independent they want to be from glasses or contact lenses for all of their daily visual needs.
TRADITIONAL Surgery Lens Options:
- Basic Lens-Based Surgery (Insurance only) If you simply want to have improved quality of vision after surgery and desire to wear glasses for distance and near tasks, this is your best option.
*For more information about traditional cataract surgery, click here.
ADVANCED "Refractive" Surgery Lens Option:
- Distance Only Lens-Based Surgery (Insurance + Elective) If you desire the best distance vision and are satisfied with wearing reading glasses for near and intermediate tasks, this option is for you.
- Distance and Near Lens-Based Surgery (Insurance + Elective) If you desire the best distance and near vision and would like to wear glasses as little as possible, this option is for you.
*For more information about advanced cataract surgery, click here.
Restore Your Sight
Sioux Falls, SD patients who are experiencing the symptoms of cataracts should contact us to set up an appointment with ART Vision. Particularly for those who are 40 years of age or more, receiving comprehensive eye exams at least every two years is very important to diagnosing and treating cataracts and many other eye diseases. With a prompt diagnosis, our team can design an individualized plan to treat your cataracts and help you See the World Better and See Yourself Better.