In the next 30 years, 50 million Americans will experience cataracts. In particular, Hispanic Americans will show a rapid increase to nearly 10 million cases from under two million cases today. Since cataract surgery is the only way to remedy a cataract, you are fortunate to live in south Florida and the top cataract surgeons near Naples, FL – Elmquist Eye Group.
Cataract Treatment Evolved
Cataracts are a natural part of aging, and have been for a long time. The ancient Egyptian texts referred to a procedure called “couching” that was performed by a surgeon called an oculist to remove a cataract. Amazingly, this procedure is still performed today in some areas of the world, despite its substantial risk.
Modern cataract surgery is much safer and much more effective. It is also painless and fast, with short recovery times. In fact, modern cataract surgery is based on a discovery made by a World War II English physician. Pieces of plastic from shattered aircraft windshields used to become lodged in the eyes of injured pilots. The doctor noted that the body did not mount an immune system response to the shards of plastic, and he had the idea to replace the clouded cataract lens with an artificial lens. This is exactly how we accomplish cataract surgery today.
Modern Cataract Surgery
Our surgeon first uses a laser to phacoemulsify (break up) the cloudy lens. This is done through a small corneal incision. The remnants are removed from the eye, and an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) implant is put in place.
These days, intraocular lenses are made of space-age flexible polymers. They fit the lens better and are even formulated to correct all kinds of vision problems from nearsightedness to farsightedness and even astigmatism.
The IOL lenses are also specially designed to prevent the protein buildup that causes a cataract.
Are You Affected By Cataracts?
If your vision is blurry and clouded, and colors seem to be less vibrant, you may have a cataract. People over age 60 are much more likely to have a cataract because the protein breakdown that characterizes cataracts is a natural part of the aging process.
As we age, the proteins in our eyes naturally break down and clump onto the lens, and this scatters light rather than focus it on the lens.
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. By age 80, most adults will have some form of cataract. While cataracts do range in severity, they are not reversible and do eventually require surgery.
At first, people typically do not even notice a cataract. There might be slight vision changes, but nothing that is drastic to alarm the patient. Over time, as the protein deposits become more prevalent, people begin experiencing vision issues that begin to interfere with daily activities like reading or driving at night.
If you’ve asked yourself whether you might have a cataract, the best way to determine the answer is to visit Elmquist Eye Group, the top cataract surgeons near Naples, FL. Give us a call today to schedule your comprehensive cataract evaluation.