Cataracts – Frequently Asked Questions
Serving Santa Barbara, California and Surrounding Orange County Communities
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. Normally, the eye’s lens is clear, and lets light pass to the retina. Cataracts block some of the light, so as cataracts develop, it becomes harder for a person to see.
Cataracts are a normal part of the aging process. About half of Americans ages 65 to 74 have cataracts, and about 70 percent of people aged 75 and over have this condition. Most people develop cataracts in both eyes, but one eye may be worse than the other because each cataract develops at a different rate. Some people with cataracts don’t even know that they have them. Their cataract may be small, or the changes in their vision may not bother them very much. Other people who have cataracts cannot see well enough to do even the simplest of every day activities.
Cataracts are the main cause of blindness in the world. Four out of ten people over the age of 60 develop cataracts. Treatment consists of a safe and simple cataract surgery at our Santa Barbara or other California offices.
The main symptom of a cataract is a gradual loss of vision. Other symptoms are:
- Colors may look dim or different than you remember
- Cloudy, fuzzy, or foggy vision.
- Poor night vision, headlights seem too bright
- Problems with glare from lamps or the sun.
- Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription.
- Double vision.
These symptoms also can be signs of other eye problems, so be sure to see an ophthalmologist for an accurate diagnosis.
Our Santa Barbara ophthalmologists can find a cataract in a regular eye exam. They will ask you to read a letter chart to test your visual acuity. Pupil dilation , done with special eye drops, helps the doctor to see the inside of your eyes. The doctor will use a bright light to test the clarity of your eyes’ lenses and to check for other problems in the back of your eyes.
Other eye tests concerning cataracts are: Glare test, Contrast sensitivity test, Potential vision test, Specular photographic microscopy.
There are different kinds of cataracts; the most common of which are senile cataracts. These cataracts develop in people over the age of 50. The lens clouds with damage to its fibers over time. The human eye does not shed these damaged fibers, nor are they replaced by the body. Instead, new layers are added continuously throughout life. Ultraviolet sunlight, free radicals and oxidizing agents have been connected to senile cataract formation.
Cataracts can be treated at our Santa Barbara office by surgically removing all or part of the lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Your ophthalmologist will tell you if your cataracts require surgery. Surgery is especially common in cases where the cataract is so large it could cause blindness.
Tell your doctor how your cataracts affect your vision and your life. For instance:
- Do your cataracts interfere with your work?
- Do you have trouble doing every day tasks at home?
- Do you have trouble with other activities that you enjoy such as reading, watching TV, sewing, playing cards, or going out with friends.
- Are you constantly afraid of moving about for fear of accidentally tripping or bumping into things because you can’t see well enough?
- Do you feel less independent because of your cataracts?
- Are you unable to drive because of excessive perceived glare from sunlight or headlights?
If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, cataract surgery may be the answer to your vision troubles.
Don’t let cataracts hinder your California lifestyle. Call or email the Orange County cataract experts at Khanna Institute of LASIK today for your cataract screening.