Are you an older adult in Albuquerque who has noticed your vision becoming cloudier in recent months or years? This could be one of the main symptoms of cataracts. Cataracts are extremely common, especially for aging adults and other people with certain medical conditions, and they typically cause vision clouding as one of the first symptoms due to the hardening and thickening of the lens in one or both eyes.
If you suspect that you have or are developing cataracts, it is important to schedule an evaluation with an ophthalmologist right away, as not treating them can eventually lead to complete vision loss. While not every patient will need surgery, for some, it is the best option. Read below to learn more about cataract surgery, cataract treatments, and to understand why your doctor may consider bladeless surgery as the ideal option for you.
Benefits of Cataract Surgery
If you are an older adult who lives an independent, active lifestyle, cataracts can get in the way of your daily activities. The more they affect your vision, the less you can do. It’s important to speak with your ophthalmologist to diagnose and treat any vision problems before taking matters into your own hands by buying reading glasses or assuming that your loss of night vision is simply ordinary aging. While cataracts are common, they can be greatly improved by surgery.
What Are Cataracts?
As you get older, the lens in your eye becomes harder, thicker, and less flexible. Cataracts occur as a result of this loss of flexibility. Another cause, which is more commonly seen in younger individuals with medical conditions, is specific proteins within the lenses breaking down over time and causing the characteristic clouding. The following conditions can cause or lead to the early development of cataracts:
- Aging: Cataracts are common in older people due to the protein in the lens breaking down and forming the “cloudiness” over time.
- Diabetes: Having diabetes greatly increases your chances of developing cataracts, even as a younger adult.
- Infection during pregnancy: Cataracts in newborns can form if their mothers had an infection during pregnancy or another condition such as diabetes.
- High blood pressure: Individuals with high blood pressure can develop cataracts and also have a higher rate of other eye diseases such as glaucoma.
- Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol: Both of these substances are known to exacerbate or lead to the symptoms of cataracts.
What Are Benefits of Surgery Over Other Treatment Methods?
Cataracts are not reversible through diet, exercise, or any other type of remedy. Your doctor may opt to tint your existing lenses to reduce symptoms of eyestrain and photosensitivity if your symptoms have not progressed enough to qualify you for surgery.
Your ophthalmologist may additionally have you test out a new eyeglasses prescription if your cataracts are relatively mild. None of these measures will cure your cataracts, but they may make you feel more comfortable and reduce your symptoms. If your cataracts are extremely advanced or progressing at a rapid rate, your doctor may recommend cataract surgery.
Signs That You May Have Cataracts
You may notice clouding of your vision in one or both eyes, or you may notice that your eyes are suddenly extremely sensitive to light. Your night vision may worsen, and you may see objects in double vision. Your eyeglasses prescription, if you already wear them, may change rapidly over time. One eye may be worse than the other, and it’s possible that only a single eye is affected as well.
Unfortunately, most cataracts need to be addressed as they can result in total vision loss if they are not treated. If you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, that can lead to cataracts in younger people, you should see an ophthalmologist for cataract evaluation as soon as possible to prevent complications from the disease.
Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery
Traditionally, cataract surgery involves making a tiny incision in the eye — under anesthesia, of course — to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens. Bladeless surgery is exactly what it sounds like: The blade used to make the incision in the traditional procedure is replaced by a small laser controlled by a computer that cuts with precision. Overall, bladeless surgery can present an ideal option for most patients as it is less invasive, more personalized, and can result in a quicker post-surgery healing time.
After surgery, you may notice an immediate improvement in your vision, but your restored sight will likely not become optimal until up to one month later. During this time, your eye is healing and becoming used to the new artificial lens. If you have further questions about cataract surgery, reach out to us. We are happy to walk you through the procedure, talk about the options our practice offers, and schedule your consultation with our board-certified ophthalmologists.
Get In Touch With Southwest Eyecare in Albuquerque
Cataracts can be a confusing and anxiety-provoking topic for our New Mexico patients, but treating them is often painless and affordable. In fact, the solution may be as simple as scheduling bladeless cataract surgery with your ophthalmologist. Schedule your appointment as soon as possible to determine if cataracts are the cause of your vision problems and learn more about the benefits that bladeless surgery can offer you. We look forward to meeting you and helping you restore your vision to everything it can be!
Image Source: Africa Studio / Shutterstock