What Causes Cataracts?

The most common cause of cataracts is aging, but there are other causes. If you believe a cataract may be causing your vision problems, Elmquist Eye Group can examine your eyes, explain the latest options in cataract treatment and lens technology, and put your mind at ease.

Patients from throughout Southwest Florida have been visiting Elmquist Eye Group since 1992 for the highest quality eye care, including cataract evaluations and surgery, glaucoma evaluation and treatment, dry eye evaluation and treatment, and other eye conditions that affect everyone from children to seniors.

E. Trevor Elmquist, DO, his partner Kate Wagner, OD, and his associate Nina Burt, OD, provide comprehensive eye care services to everyone in the family, from children to seniors. The newest addition to our highly qualified team is ophthalmologist Sarah Eccles-Brown, MD.

We take a personal interest in every patient, skillfully diagnosing and treating a wide range of eye conditions. With over 40 years of experience in the optical field, we proudly offer a unique combination of state-of-the-art eye care and a passion for providing the highest level of service to our patients.

What is a Cataract?

What Causes CataractsCataracts are cloudy areas in the normally clear lens of the eye, the part of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. More than 24.5 million Americans aged 40 and older are affected by them.

Cataracts can worsen over time and, if left untreated, can cause you to lose some of your eyesight. They may form in one or both eyes, but cannot spread from one eye to the other.

What Causes Cataracts to Form?

Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process, which means that everyone is eventually at risk of developing them.

The lens of the eye consists mostly of water and protein. As we age, the protein may begin to clump together and cause part of the lens to become cloudy. In the beginning, you may not notice a vision problem.  However, as time goes on, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it more difficult to read and perform other routine daily activities.

Although most cataracts are a result of aging, there are other types of cataracts. An injury to the eye can cause what is called a traumatic cataract. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, as well as some medications, including prednisone and corticosteroids, can cause cataracts to develop. And, although not common, babies can be born with cataracts or develop them during their first year of life.

How are Cataracts Detected?

The first evidence of cataracts is usually discovered during an examination. A cataract examination is very much like a general eye exam, but your eye doctor will dilate your pupils to thoroughly examine your eyes. He or she will also do a few extra tests, such as visual acuity and glare testing, to determine the severity of the cataract.

If cataracts are beginning to form, it’s important to make sure your glasses or contact lenses are strong enough to compensate for your impaired vision. As your cataracts develop further, you can discuss with Dr. Elmquist whether surgery would be beneficial.

Cataract Treatment

The only way to treat cataracts is with surgery that replaces the clouded lens of the eye with an artificial lens. There is little to no discomfort, and vision is usually restored within days. Although all surgeries have risks, cataract surgery is one of the safest surgeries performed in the U.S. today.

Elmquist Eye Group now offers bladeless laser-assisted cataract surgery, which is designed to make the procedure even more precise, safe and accurate.  While traditional cataract surgery provides excellent results, this revolutionary procedure enhances our ability to offer patients at Elmquist Eye Group the best possible visual outcomes.

If you notice changes in your vision and think cataracts may be causing them, we encourage you to give Elmquist Eye Group a call at (239) 936-2020 to find out how we can help.