You do your best to care for your vision, but lately, you've realized something seems off. It seems that colors are almost muted even sometimes blurred. You're also much more sensitive to glare than you used to be. On top of that, everything seems a bit hazy, even though your glasses or contact prescription has not changed.
If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's possible you may have cataracts. We strongly recommend you see an ophthalmologist in Lufkin as soon as you can to get a diagnosis and learn more about cataracts prevention and treatment.
Before we explain cataracts, it's important to know some basic information about eye anatomy. Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens. The lens bends light rays that comes into the eye to help us see. The lens should be clear.
Back beyond the eye's pupil and the iris is the lens. This is translucent and allows for good vision. When you have cataracts, clouds gradually develop over the lens, preventing clear vision. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract.
If left untreated, it's possible that permanent vision loss can occur. Cataracts are often associated with age and tend to affect those in their 40s and beyond.
- Have an eye exam every year if you're older than 65.Protect your eyes from UV light by wearing sunglasses that block at least 99 percent UV and a hat.
- If you use tobacco products, quit. Tobacco is a key risk factor for cataracts.
- Use bright lights for reading and other activities. A magnifying glass may be useful, too.
- Limit driving at night once night vision, halos or glare become problematic.
- Take care of any other health problems, especially diabetes.
- Get the right eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.
- When it becomes difficult to complete your regular activities, cataract surgery may become an option.
- Make an informed decision about cataract surgery if it is necessary. Have a discussion with Dr. Duncan about: the surgery, preparation for and recovery after surgery, benefits and possible complications of cataract surgery, cataract surgery costs, and other questions you have.
There are three cataract types: cortical, nuclear, and subcapsular cataracts. We will now explain each of these in more detail.
- Cortical cataracts: Named such because they affect the cortex of the lens, cortical cataracts tend to be white in appearance. These will appear first at the edge of the lens. Eventually, they will spread to cover the lens middle.
- Nuclear cataracts: If you’re getting older, you may want to contact your Ophthalmologist about getting checked for nuclear cataracts. These affect the lens’ nucleus, which is right in the middle.
- Subcapsular cataracts: Then there are subcapsular cataracts, which affect the area behind the lens. Your likelihood of getting subcapsular cataracts increases if you’re on steroid medications and/or you have diabetes.
It's worth saying that medical experts have not come to a consensus about whether cataracts prevention is possible. If it is, there appears to be a correlation between eye health and the foods you eat.
For instance, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, antioxidants, and carotenoids (particularly zeaxanthin and lutein) may promote better eye health. To get these vitamins and nutrients, eat more leafy vegetables, kale, spinach, almonds, and sunflower seeds. You can also take supplements.
If you already have cataracts, you may be interested in cataracts treatment. As you can imagine, catching this eye condition early is the best way to preserve your vision. The sooner your Ophthalmologist can treat your case of cataracts, the less damage this condition can cause.
If you have an advanced case of cataracts, your best bet would be to have cataract surgery. You'll be fitted with a new intraocular lens. This is often made of plastic.