It is common for adults over 60 to begin to develop cataracts that will affect their vision. Not all cataracts need to be treated, but when they interfere too much with your vision, you may need surgery to restore your eyesight back to normal.
What Are Cataracts?
The best way to understand what are cataracts is to think of it as a clouding over of the lens in your eye. The clouding prevents light from being able to travel to the back of your eye. This is very similar to how if a window in your home is dirty, sunlight would be unable to fully shine through it.
Cataracts act very much like a dirty window. When your eye’s lens is cloudy, it causes your vision to be hazy. It may seem like you are looking through a dirty window. When cataracts become advanced, they appear as a gray or whitish film over your eye.
Common Symptoms of Cataracts
When a cataract begins to develop, it may only affect a small area of your lens. As it continues to expand, you will begin to notice that your vision is becoming increasingly blurrier.
If you have a cataract, you may begin to have vision problems that can become very frustrating, including:
- Having poor vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Colors seem duller
- Double vision
- Seeing halos around lights
In advanced stages, the cataract will turn brownish or yellowish. Everything may start to look like an old sepia-colored photograph.
When to See Your Eye Doctor
Regular yearly eye screenings are important to detecting cataracts because you may not always realize they are there because they are painless. You might not notice any symptoms. However, if you experience any change in your vision, you should always make an immediate appointment to see your eye doctor instead of waiting for your yearly screening.
If your eye doctor finds a cataract, he may prescribe new eyeglasses and suggest things to do that will help reduce symptoms, including:
- Using brighter lights at your home or work when doing tasks
- Wearing anti-glare sunglasses reduce your sensitivity to sunlight
- Using magnifying lenses for close work
Depending on the speed that your cataract(s) grow, these suggestions may only work temporarily. At some point, you might require surgery to remove your cataract(s) to restore your vision. And when that time comes, Iowa City Ambulatory Surgical Center will be there for you.