What Is A Cataract?

What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. The lens is part of the eye that helps focus light on the retina. The retina is a light sensitive layer of tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina through the cornea and lens. Cataracts cause clouding which reduces the sharpness of images reflected in the retina. This results in blurred vision.

Most cataracts are related to aging, usually starting at age 40. They are so common that by age 80 more than half of all Americans either have them or have already had corrective surgery. If you think you may have a cataract, trust in the skill of the Michigan ophthalmologists at Crew & Boss Eye Associates. They will determine if cataracts are the cause of your vision loss.
What causes Cataracts?
A cataract is caused by one of two changes in the lens: clumping of protein or discoloration. The lens is primarily composed of water and protein. In the case of a cataract, the protein clumps up in areas. This clumping clouds the lens and reduces the amount of light that reaches the retina. The clouding can start with small clumps. Then it can increase in size to completely cover the lens requiring cataract surgery. In the case of discoloration, the lens slowly changes to a yellow or brownish color. Over time, this brown tint to the lens becomes more prominent, making it difficult to read and identify colors such as blues, purples and blacks. Gradual discoloration of lenses does not affect the sharpness of the image. The natural wear and tear on eyes due to job requirements, lifestyle and environment are possible factors causing cataracts.
What are the symptoms?
  • Painless blurring of vision
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Poor night vision
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Frequent changes in glasses of contact lens prescription
What are the treatment options?
If the impairment or symptoms caused by cataracts are affecting reading, writing, working or enjoying the things you want to do, then it may be time to consider surgery. Cataract surgery is nearly painless and is the only proven means of effectively treating cataracts. Surgeries have been performed on cataracts for over a century and has evolved with the times and changing technology.
The procedure, phacoemulsification, is performed as an outpatient procedure. The surgery itself takes approximately 15-30 minutes. To summarize, the eye surgeon makes a small incision on or around the cornea, removes the cloudy lens then inserts the new intraocular lens into place. With this technique clear vision is restored almost immediately and the eye heals rapidly without stitches. The cataract procedure is performed the same way with most patients except for the type of intraocular lens (IOL).
What are my restrictions after cataract surgery?
After surgery, you will have to take eye drops to prevent infection and swelling. For the first week following surgery, you will wear a metal eye shield at bedtime. You should not rub the operated eye. We also recommend not lifting anything more than 25 pounds for about 2 weeks after surgery. You may resume your normal activities without restrictions 2-4 weeks after surgery, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Always refer to your doctor’s instruction if you are unsure of your specific restrictions.
If you are considering cataract surgery in Michigan request an appointment with Crew & Boss Eye Associates today! Imagine your clear vision after cataract surgery.
Secondary Cataract
About 30% of patients that have cataract surgery will develop what is commonly referred to as a ‘secondary cataract,’ or posterior capsule opacity. This is when the eye’s natural capsule that is used to hold the new, artificial lens in place during cataract surgery, becomes cloudy or opaque, causing a decrease in vision.
Treatment for this condition requires a laser called a YAG Capsulotomy. This procedure is quick, painless and can be performed right in the office. If you are having vision difficulties following cataract surgery, call Crew and Boss Eye Associates today for an evaluation.

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