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Concerned about Cataracts? These Treatments Can Improve Your Sight

Date : August 24,2015
By : Anica Oaks

Cataracts are traditionally thought of as a problem for the elderly, but they may actually begin to develop in people in their forties and fifties. Cataracts develop when excessive protein builds up on the lens. This protein accumulation leads to permanent changes in the lens.

Individuals with cataracts may experience blurry vision, excessive glare from lamps and headlights, trouble seeing at night, double vision, difficulty telling differences in some colors, such as blue and purple, and the need for frequent changes in prescription.

Non-Surgical Treatment
Cataracts develop and worsen over time. When the vision is initially affected, treatment doesn’t necessarily require surgery. A stronger prescription, working under better lighting, using a magnifying glass and wearing anti-glare sunglasses can all help to ease the symptoms of cataracts and put off surgery. Once the cataract reaches a certain stage, however, eyesight will be affected to the point that surgery is required if the individual hopes to continue participating in everyday activities.


Surgical Treatment
Surgery on the eye can sound scary, but cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed. The surgery is performed under local anesthesia, and the doctor will often be able to use numbing eye drops, rather than injections around the eye, making the procedure even more comfortable.

The cataract surgery itself is straightforward. The doctor makes a small incision in the bag that holds the affected lens, removes it, and replaces it with a man-made lens. The man-made lens often improves vision enough that the individual doesn’t require additional correction in the future. The cataract surgery is completed, from start to finish, in less than an hour.

What to Expect After Surgery
Following the surgery, the eye is covered with a patch and the individual is encouraged to rest. Most patients will go home the same day, although they will not be able to drive themselves. A small amount of discharge, sensitivity to light, mild discomfort and itching are common after the surgery and should resolve within two days of surgery.

Vision will be blurry for several days after surgery, as the eye gets accustomed to focusing with the new lens. During the recovery period, it is important not to rub the eye, lift heavy items and bend over from the waist (bend at the knees). Most other daily activities are fine. Post-operative eye drops may be required for a few days or weeks after surgery, to speed healing and reduce the risk of infection.

Possible Complications
Complications are rare after cataract surgery. Some complications that may occur are infection, inflammation, double or blurry vision, loss of vision and high or low pressure in the eye. It is important to note that most of these complications can be treated successfully with early intervention.

Occurrence of Cataracts
Cataracts are remarkably common, and while they often don’t cause severe enough issues to require treatment until later in life, they begin to develop much earlier. While there is no way to prevent cataracts from forming, some lifestyle changes can reduce the likelihood of their development. Alcohol and tobacco use may increase the risk of cataract development. Some chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, may as well. Finally, long-term exposure to bright sunlight may lead to cataract development.

Even without any of these risk factors, many people develop cataracts. Prompt treatment allows individuals to retain excellent vision through their advancing years. Often, patients only require reading glasses or a very light prescription after their cataract surgery. Also, a cataract that forms on the lens gives everything a yellow or brown cast, but this happens so gradually, most people don’t notice it until their new, man-made lens is in place. They are then amazed at the return of color and contrast.