Is your vision becoming blurry and clouded? Do colors seem less vibrant than they used to be? If so, you may have a cataract. People over age 60 are much more likely to have a cataract, which is a natural part of aging. If you’ve asked yourself, “Are cataracts reversible?” the answer is unfortunately “no”. Cataracts require surgery, and if you’re in the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area, you are fortunate to have the nearby experts at Elmquist Eye Group.
What is a cataract exactly?
As we age, the proteins in our eyes naturally break down and clump onto the lens, creating cloudy or blurred vision. Light scatters rather than focusing on the lens. There are several types of cataracts, named for their location on the lens.
A nuclear sclerotic cataract is the most common cataract, occurring in the central part of the eye. A cortical cataract usually forms on the outer part of the lens, creating issues with peripheral vision. Finally, a posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC) will form on the lens’ back surface and causes people to see halos around lights and creates issues with up-close vision. PSC cataracts are much more common in people who have diabetes.
Cataracts can range in severity. At first, people usually don’t notice vision changes, but as the protein deposits become more prevalent, people begin experiencing vision issues. Our Elmquist Eye Group specialists use several tests to detect and diagnose cataracts. We conduct these tests as part of a comprehensive eye exam to help determine cataract severity.
For this exam, we dilate your pupils to get a more thorough look at the lens to examine it for cataracts. We also use the slit lamp test to observe the lens, and visual acuity tests to determine how accurate your vision is.
Most cataracts are age-related. Some people are more prone to developing a cataract after having another type of eye surgery, and patients who have taken steroids for an extended period of time often develop cataracts at an earlier age. Some adults begin to notice signs of a cataract as early as age 40, but most people notice them in the late 60s or 70s.
How are cataracts treated?
Surgery is the only way to repair a cataract, and patients should consider surgery when vision is significantly affected. Perhaps your night vision is disturbed. Perhaps reading has become more difficult. If you answered “yes” to either or both questions, it is likely time for surgery.
In the early stages of cataracts, we can adjust your eyeglasses or contact lenses prescription more frequently to address the slow changes in vision. Eventually, though, surgery is needed, and when that time comes, our expert surgeons are here to review every aspect of the surgery with you. We will evaluate whether you are a good surgical candidate, discuss your expectations and together decide whether this is the right time for you to have the procedure.
An Elmquist Evaluation
Are cataracts reversible? No, but our surgeons at Elmquist Eye Group in Cape Coral and Fort Myers are here for you. We are ready to perform your comprehensive eye exam and cataract evaluation, so give us a call today.