A few years ago, my dear maternal grandmother visited an optometrist. After thoroughly examining my grandmother’s eyes, this medical professional informed her that she had cataracts in both of them. Concerned, my grandmother immediately made an appointment with a surgeon. The two surgeries to remove the cataracts from my grandmother’s eyes were successful. Scheduling annual eye exams is crucial. During these appointments, your optometrist will check for potentially harmful conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. On this blog, I hope you will discover the most important reasons you should visit your eye doctor every year. Enjoy!
Of all the changes to your body that happen as the decades start piling upon you, changes to your vision are probably the most common. But what if you start noticing that, rather than having to wear stronger glasses or buy books with larger print, you have a field of vision that is slowly getting cloudier and cloudier? This is one of the major signs of cataracts, which affect around half of all people over the age of 75. So if you're wondering exactly what cataracts are, how they affect you, and if your vision can ever be restored, then here's what you need to know.
What exactly are cataracts?
There's a lens on the outside of your eyeball, and it helps to protect the eyeball itself against damage. However, the proteins in that lens can degrade over time, causing the lens itself to become blurry. That blurry lens is what is known as a cataract. While cataracts can be caused by a physical trauma, chemical injury (like the kind you get from an adverse reaction to medication), or even be present from the moment you were born, the most common cause of cataracts is simply your body growing older and starting to break down.
How will cataracts affect my vision?
It's probably easiest to explain the effect of cataracts on your vision with a metaphor. Imagine you're driving at night in winter when all of a sudden your windshield starts fogging up from the heater in your car. The fog doesn't cover the whole windshield, but it does create spots in your vision where it's harder to see, making you vulnerable to drivers who aren't watching where they're going. With cataracts, there's that natural lens that covers the front of your eyeball, and that lens is what gets cloudy and affects your vision, and, like in the windshield analogy, those clouds can make you vulnerable to potential dangers you won't be able to see.
Is there any solution to cataracts?
Happily, eye-care technology has progressed to the point where your eye doctor can easily remove that thin, cloudy lens that's obstructing your eyesight and replace it with an artificial lens, allowing you to see clearly again. Once you have the new lens in, you don't need any more specialized care, and you can generally walk right out of the office and go home after the surgery, barring any complications.
Check out the sites of various optometrists to find a provider near you.