Cataracts Treatment From Yakima Vision Center

Nearly everyone who has been to an eye clinic has heard of cataracts, and have some sense that it is a potentially serious problem. Our optometrist at Yakima Vision Center makes checking for the presence of cataracts a part of our comprehensive vision exam. Many people know that cataracts are something bad that affects a person’s vision, but not everyone knows exactly what they are and what to do about them.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a layer of clouding present on the eye’s natural lens. Worldwide, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in those over 40. In the U.S. more than 22 million of those 40 and older have cataracts. There are three types of cataracts

  • Cortical Cataracts – These are white wedge shaped obstructions that start in the outer edges of the lens which move toward the center of the eye in a spoke-like pattern
  • Nuclear Cataracts – These are the type of cataracts most commonly associated with aging, and they begin in the deep center (nucleus) of the lens.
  • Subcapsular Cataracts – These are present in the pack of the lens and diabetics and people who have taken high doses of steroids are most susceptible to developing these types of cataracts

How to Tell if You Need Cataract Treatment

When a person first gets cataracts, it isn’t always obvious. Vision changes are subtle at first, but things may be a bit more blurred than before. You might also be more sensitive to light, and colors may fade somewhat. For those who develop subcapsular cataracts, symptoms don’t show up until the cataracts are advanced.

Cataracts happen because the eye lens is made up of mostly water and protein, and that balance is compromised resulting in clumps of protein that begin to cause small areas of clouding. If left untreated, the clouded areas expand and eventually become problematic obstructions to your vision. The best way to prevent cataracts from taking over your eyes is to take your overall eye care seriously and get regular vision checks from your eye doctor, whether you have a history of vision issues or not.

Who is Most at Risk For Cataracts?

There are several factors that may make a person more susceptible to developing cataracts than others, so it is important to examine your own lifestyle and health conditions to determine if more frequent eye exams or other precautionary measures should be taken to prevent or limit the damage that cataracts can cause.

Besides being over 40, some of the biggest risk factors include:

  • Exposure to UV Radiation from sunlight
  • Smoking
  • Excessive Drinking
  • Previous eye injury or surgery
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • High level of nearsightedness
  • Family History

If you have begun to develop cataracts, your optometrist will be able to confirm this at the time of your eye exam. When damage is minimal, most rely on visual aid tools, such as stronger glasses and magnifiers in order to function better. If cataracts become more serious, it might be necessary for your optometrist to refer you for surgery. Cataract surgery has a high success rate, and the vast majority achieve corrected vision between 20/20 and 20/40. Surgery involves removing the clouded lens from your natural eye and replacing it with a plastic intraocular lens (IOL).

Contact Our Optometrist at Yakima Vision Center Today!

If you suspect you may be developing cataracts, or if it has just been a while since you have had an eye exam, our optometrist at Yakima Vision Center can help determine if there are any vision issues to be concerned about. Contact us at (509) 965-5200 to schedule an appointment.

Cataracts FAQs from Yakima Vision Center

If you’ve recently gotten a diagnosis of cataracts, you’re probably surprised. With the high tech examination equipment we have at Yakima Vision Center, most patients find out they have cataracts before they notice any symptoms. Our patients usually have a wide range of questions for our optometrist when they get a cataract diagnosis, and here are some of the most common ones:

What is a Cataract?

Your eye has a crystalline lens in the front. Sometimes protein inside the eye breaks up and attaches to the inside of the lens, making it yellow or cloudy. This is called a cataract.

What are Cataract Symptoms?

Not everyone has the same experience with cataracts. Many patients notice absolutely nothing for months or years after their diagnosis. Eventually, most will begin to develop symptoms including seeing halos around lights, double vision, blurred vision that looks like you’re looking through gauze or a veil, and a fading of colors.

What is the Treatment for Cataracts?

In most cases, our optometrist will recommend no treatment at all. If you have no symptoms, such as cloudy vision, there’s no reason to be proactive with cataracts. Some of them never progress to the point of needing treatment. You should use defensive measures to help keep them from becoming worse. Some eye care techniques we recommend are:

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, and fruits
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Protect your eyes from UV rays by wearing hats and protective eyewear every time you leave the house
  • Avoid using oral steroids
  • Keep your blood sugar under control

What About More Serious Cataract Treatment?

If your cataracts have progressed to the point where they’re interfering with your work and home life, it’s time for a surgical procedure. Outpatient cataracts surgery is the most common surgical procedure done today, and generally, takes half a day or less to complete.

Who is Likely to Develop Cataracts?

About half the population will develop the beginnings of cataracts by the time they’re 50 years old, and almost everyone has some sign of them by the time they’re 75. They’re not exclusively for seniors, though. Cataracts can develop at any age, even in childhood, which is why it’s so important to get a regular eye exam every few years throughout your life.

What Does Cataract Surgery Involve?

There are different types of procedures, but generally, cataract surgery involved removing the clouded natural lens from your eye, then replacing it with an artificial lens. This lens works exactly the same way your natural lens does. In fact, it’s possible to use a lens that corrects your vision to 20/20, eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses after the procedure.

Call Our Eye Doctor in Yakima Today!

The word cataract can be a frightening one, especially if you have received a surprise diagnosis. If you’re looking for answers to the many questions in your mind, the caring team in our eye clinic can help. We’ll take the time to give you all the answers you need. Call our eye doctor in Yakima at (509) 965-5200 and we’ll make an appointment for a consultation.