A cataract occurs when the clear natural lens within our eye begins to become cloudy. Cataracts are very common, occurring in a large majority of the population 65 and older, which can develop in one or both eyes. The most common symptoms include cloudy or blurry vision, difficulty driving at night due to glare and halos, trouble seeing distant objects clearly such as street signs or the television, in addition to noticing a gradual loss of color vibrancy.
Cataracts only develop because of proteins in the lens clumping together. When these proteins clump up, your lens becomes cloudy, instead of clear.
Should you notice any of these symptoms, see your eye doctor!
Cataract surgery is a safe and quick outpatient procedure that could transform your life. Modern cataract surgery liquefies the cataract using ultrasound, which is then suctioned out through a tiny micro-incision that requires no sutures. Then, the intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted through the same micro-incision in a folded position, which then opens up into its proper and permanent position on the eye. The surgery corrects distance vision, and most patients will require glasses for up-close reading and computer use. However, there are premium lens options available that could potentially eliminate the need for glasses. Talk with your Sweeney Eye doctor about whether cataract surgery is right for you.
Low vision is when your vision cannot be corrected to 20/70 or better, even with glasses or contacts. Typical causes of low vision include, cataracts, AMD, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease:
Age-related Macular Degeneration: is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. There are often no noticeable symptoms in the early stages of AMD, but if left untreated, it may gradually result in blurred or loss central vision; in one or both eyes.
Diabetic Eye Disease: Diabetes causes many complications in the body, particularly in the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20-74 years old.
Glaucoma: The name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve by high intraocular pressure in the eye. Known as the “thief of sight, if left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness.
Cataracts:A cataract is the progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which disrupts light passing through the pupil to the back of the eye (retina). Over time a cataract leads to diminished sight in the affected eye and eventually to blindness if untreated. Unlike AMD, Glaucoma, and Diabetic Eye Disease, Cataracts can be removed through Laser Cataract Surgery.
These eye conditions make doing daily activities difficult such as cooking, driving, reading, and even recognizing the faces of friends and family.
How Yearly Eye Exams Can Lower the Risk for Low Vision
Just like an annual physical, a yearly eye exam is important for your overall health. Comprehensive eye exams are critical in the prevention and early detection o various eye diseases. Several eye diseases do not show symptoms until vision loss has occurred. However, if a condition is detected early, there is the potential to prevent vision loss.
During an eye exam, your Sweeney Eye optometrist will evaluate the health of your eyes through a series of comprehensive tests, while checking for the very conditions that cause low vision such as glaucoma, AMD, and diabetic retinopathy.
November is the designated month for Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness. This month helps remind and motivate those living with diabetes to make sure to take the proactive steps, to monitor their eye health and protect their vision.
Diabetes inhibits the body from using or storing sugar properly, damaging the retinal blood vessels in the eye, causing them to bleed and swell, ultimately distorting vision. These damaged blood vessels can cause diabetic eye disease, also known as diabetic retinopathy, becoming the one of the leading causes of blindness in diabetic adults. Populations including African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanics are at a greater risk than others for developing diabetic eye disease. There are little to no symptoms when diabetic retinopathy is in its early stages, however with a comprehensive dilated eye exam, these problems can be easily detected and treated. Because diabetics have 25 times the usual risk for blindness, studies have shown that diabetics are more likely to keep their vision if treatment is started before vision loss has actually occurred. The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy is to keep your diabetes and blood pressure under control. You should have your eyes examined every year, even if you are seeing well, to screen for any retinal changes. The goal of diabetic eye care is to PREVENT vision loss before it occurs. Although you might be seeing well, it is not uncommon to have a vision-threatening problem with your retina. If it is determined that treatment is necessary, the doctors at Sweeney Eye can perform a number of state-of-the-art therapies designed to prevent vision loss. You will know more about your diabetic retinopathy treatment options during your initial consultation with us.