If your vision is appearing increasingly fuzzy and indistinct, you could be one of the 24.4 million Americans aged 40 or older who suffer from cataracts or perhaps you’re among the half of all Americans over age 75 struggling with this eye problem. Cataracts literally veil your vision by turning the lenses of your eyes opaque, which is why this disease is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. The good news is that cataracts can be treated and Holt Eye Clinic can serve as your source for cataracts treatment in Hot Springs.
Causes and Symptoms of Cataracts
The lenses that direct light from the outside world to the retinas of your eyes may look perfectly clear under normal circumstances, but that’s only because the many proteins that make up these tissues are arranged in a specific formation that lets the light through. If something causes the proteins to start clumping together, the transparency is lost and the lens takes on a cloudy appearance. The most common type of cataracts, nuclear cataracts, develops as a normal consequence of aging. Cortical cataracts (which form from the edges of the lens inward) and subcapsular cataracts (which develop at the back of the lens instead of the front) are more likely to be caused by corticosteroid medications, diabetes, previous eye injury or other factors. Smoking and UV exposure can accelerate cataract formation.
The majority of cataracts develop slowly enough that you might not notice any vision changes for a long time. Eventually, however, you can expect to experience:
- Reduced night vision
- Alterations in color perception
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to glare
- Strange patterns such as sunbursts or halos appearing around lights
How Your Holt Eye Clinic Team Can Help
Any Hot Springs optometrist on our experienced team here at Holt Eye Clinic can diagnose cataracts during a routine eye exam. In addition to vision testing to check for any loss of vision, your optometrist in Hot Springs can also use an instrument called a slit lamp to observe the lens under bright light and magnification, revealing even the earliest traces of cataracts long before you experience any symptoms.
If you have cataracts, we will monitor their progress carefully from exam to exam. Corrective lenses and anti-glare filters can compensate for some of the early symptoms. Once we can no longer correct your eyesight to an acceptable level we may recommend surgery to remove the diseased lens and replace it with an artificial lens. Our ophthalmologist can perform this surgery quickly and painlessly as an outpatient procedure, restoring your eyesight to its pre-cataract state. If additional clouding forms after the surgery, it can be eliminated through a second procure called a YAG laser capsulotomy.