“Seeing is believing.”
“See you later!”
“Oh, I see now.”
Our eyes are such a critical part of our everyday lives that we often take for granted. Sure, touch, smell, taste, and hearing are great, but where would we be without our ability to see?
With June being cataract awareness month, let’s take a minute to look at what cataracts are, some symptoms to watch out for, and what options you have if you start to develop them.
What Are Cataracts?
The leading cause of blindness and vision loss in the world, cataracts are when the lens in your eye clouds over. As you get older, the tissues in your lens start to break down and clump together, causing it to become less and less transparent. This results in less sharp vision and can even make you feel as if you are looking through a fog or cloud.
While cataracts are commonly associated with older age, there are a few other factors that could increase your risk. Diabetes, obesity, smoking, corticosteroid medications, and excessive sunlight exposure can all increase your chances of developing a cataract.
While blurry vision is an excellent reason to visit an optometrist in any situation, it can also be a sign that cataracts may be forming. Some other symptoms to “keep an eye out” for include trouble seeing things well at night, seeing “halos” around lights, and continually seeming to need brighter light when reading.
As the cataract spreads, the degradation in your vision will become easier to spot. As soon as you notice your vision changing, it’s a good idea to call our office and make an appointment for a checkup.
Luckily, if your optometrist does determine that you have cataracts, surgery is very safe and easy. Just swap out the lens!
Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial one that sits in the same spot and becomes a permanent part of your eye. The procedure does not take long; you are typically awake for the operation and can be out of the hospital the same day. You may feel some discomfort for the first few days, but you should be back to normal in less than eight weeks. If you have cataracts in both of your eyes—which is common—the doctor will typically do one eye at a time, giving you the chance to heal up one eye before operating on the second.
In some cases, an artificial lens cannot be inserted. If that happens, your vision can be corrected with glasses or contacts after the cataract has been removed.
Once you are diagnosed with cataracts, waiting to get surgery done does not increase your risk or affect the surgery and recovery. However, why keep yourself from living life to the fullest? There are smiles to capture, sunsets to enjoy, and memories to experience. Don’t let your vision get in the way. If you think your eyesight has recently changed or could be better, set an appointment with Yakima Vision Center so we can get you back out there and living life. After all, there are things to do and people to see!