Frequently Asked Questions about Cataracts
Since cataracts represent a major cause of vision loss and blindness worldwide, you might feel understandably anxious about developing them. However, much of this anxiety may dissipate once you understand more about this common eye condition and how effectively it can be treated. Check out these frequently asked questions on the subject at Chapel Hill Ophthalmology in Chapel Hill, NC.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are cloudy areas that form in the lens of the eye. These opacities are clumps of proteins that normally stay separated, which permits the passage of light in the eye. As the clumps grow thicker, they block incoming light and impair your vision.
How Do Cataracts Affect Eyesight?
Cataracts commonly cause distortions, such as blurred vision, dulling of colors, reduced contrast levels, and extreme sensitivity to glare. They may also cause a person to see halo-like patterns around bright light sources such as car headlights. Untreated cataracts can eventually produce blindness.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts most commonly develop as a natural consequence of decades of ultraviolet (UV) exposure and other age-related changes. Other risk factors include smoking, heavy drinking, obesity, previous eye injuries or surgeries, strong myopia (nearsightedness), diabetes, and medications, such as corticosteroids or statins.
How Are Cataracts Detected?
A typical ophthalmology exam can reveal the presence of cataracts even before they start to affect your eyesight. A combination of evaluations, including visual acuity testing and the use of an illuminated instrument called a slit lamp, can detect cataracts at various stages of development.
Do Cataracts Always Require Surgical Removal?
If you have early-stage cataracts, corrective lenses from our ophthalmology center can often correct the symptoms for the time being. Some cataracts may not even progress to the point that they need any treatment at all. However, cataracts that cause significant vision loss may require surgery.
What Can I Expect from Cataract Surgery?
Modern cataract surgery is quick, easy, and painless. Our eye care team can perform this surgery as an outpatient procedure. You will receive eye drops to prevent you from experiencing any pain, along with sedation to keep you relaxed. A laser makes a small opening into the lens capsule. The lens is broken up into small, easily-removable pieces and then replaced with a clear artificial lens. We will conduct follow-up exams to track your recovery.
Chapel Hill Ophthalmology Has the Answers to Your Cataract Questions
You can get more answers to your cataract questions, along with skilled professional treatment for the condition, at our eye care center. Call Chapel Hill Ophthalmology at (919) 942-8701 for more information!