You have likely heard of cataracts, but what it is? How do cataracts affect your sight? How do you know if you have cataracts? How are cataracts treated? As a doctor taking care of patients for many years, diagnosing cataracts is only a small part of your care. It is important to me that you understand all stages of cataract development, and how you may be impacted. I am pleased to share the explanations and solutions for the many questions that I have helped answer throughout my years of providing eye care.
What To Know About Cataracts
What Is A Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding, or opacity, of the crystalline lens of the eye, which has layers like the rings of an onion. This lens has been inside your eye since before you were born! As we age, so does this lens. In some people, the lens simply gets more yellow, which causes gradual vision changes. In others, the outer layers begin to cloud in a ‘crystal-like’ pattern that starts more in the outer layers and grows inwards towards the pupil center. In some cases, the changes happen more centrally and often create rapid vision changes.
How Are Cataracts Detected?
A magnification system called a slit-lamp biomicroscope is used to see the layers of the eye from the front, through the middle, and to the back of the eye. Using different lighting and magnification, we can assess the type, location, and density of the cataract.
How Do Cataracts Affect My Sight?
Changes in your vision include blurred, cloudy, or hazy vision, increased glare while driving at night, or noticing glasses not working the same as before; for example, having to lift them up to look through a different area, or even seeing better without your glasses.
Your prescription is assessed to see if your eyesight can be improved with a prescription change. It is helpful when we have seen patients in previous years, as we can see the changes to the vision and prescription over time. It is quite common for your eyeglass prescription to start changing when cataracts are developing, even after years of stable vision. With the combination of the slit-lamp assessment, any prescription changes, and your visual acuity (what you see on the eye chart), we can determine if you are ready to be referred to an Ophthalmologist who specializes in Cataract surgery.
Can You Tell Me If My Cataracts Have Gotten Worse?
I like to explain to my patients that I will review many factors, including your level of vision, how your lifestyle and work may be affected by reduced vision, and the tests that we do to view inside your eyes. All of these help determine the type and degree of any cataracts.There are many diagnostic images and tests that are done throughout your eye exam to allow the optometrist to determine the degree of your cataracts and how they are affecting your sight and your lifestyle:
- The Type Of Lens Implant. When cataract surgery is performed, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye, leaving an empty, clear capsule (like a sac) in which the Intra-Ocular Lens implant (IOL) is inserted. There are numerous types of IOL options to be considered based on current prescription, including whether you need to correct astigmatism, near- or far-sightedness, or if you are considering a multi-focal implant that combines near and far correction. It is very helpful if your optometrist who has known you, your vision, your prescription, and your lifestyle, can ultimately help you set appropriate expectations and select the best IOL choice.
- Dry Eye. Post-surgical comfort and outcomes are improved if your eyes are hydrated and healthy prior to the surgery. We can help with pre-surgical treatments to enhance your comfort and success. To further increase your healing and vision outcomes, your optometrist can recommend treatments to ensure your eyelids and tears glands are clear and working well. We will make recommendations to help with dry eyes and lid care.
- Previous Medical Conditions. Other medical conditions and medications are reviewed and advised if any modifications are required before surgery.
- Rest And Recovery. Be prepared to reduce tasks and activities that require heavy lifting and extended use of your eyes. Be prepared to allow time to rest and recuperate.
Cataract Screening At My Optometrist Calgary
You can be assured that a comprehensive eye exam will take into consideration your best possible vision, assessment of eye health concerns from eye disease and medical conditions, and a summary of the treatment and preventative care options for your best sight, visual comfort, and safety. The highly skilled team and I, at My Optometrist Calgary, look forward to helping you and your family achieve your best sight throughout childhood, academics and working years, and throughout the golden senior years. To book an eye exam, either call our Sunridge, NE, Sundance, SE, or Three Hills, AB locations or fill out the online contact form.
Q: Can cataracts be prevented?
A: Certain lifestyle changes may help prevent cataract formation, such as maintaining a healthy antioxidant-rich diet, protecting the eyes from ultraviolet radiation by wearing sunglasses and hats, and refraining from smoking. Numerous medications and medical conditions can increase the development of cataracts. Your optometrist will review your medical history and medications to ensure we are aware of any risk factors. Annual eye exams are recommended to best monitor the development of cataracts, and the effect they may be having on your vision.
Q: What happens if I need cataract surgery?
A: You will be referred to an ophthalmologist and your optometrist will discuss different surgical options with you, such as the type of lens implant you may need, any preexisting eye conditions, and what recovery may look like. Cataract surgery is typically a quick day surgery with fast recovery.
Q: How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?
A: It typically takes around 8 weeks for the eye to complete most of its healing, but you should be able to resume regular activity that does not include eye strain or heavy lifting in less than 24 hours.