What are Cataracts?
A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens inside the eye. Contrary to common perception, it is not a “film” on the surface of the eye, although it certainly can cause vision to appear filmy. Cataracts are an inevitable consequence of aging – if you live long enough you’ll get a cataract. Some general health conditions (like diabetes) and medications (like steroids) can cause cataracts; ultraviolet radiation has long been considered a cause of cataract formation.
How are Cataracts Diagnosed?
You may or may not know a cataract is developing depending on the size and where it is located. As a cataract develops you may find your eyes more sensitive to light, especially at night or blurring of your vision.
If you notice blurred vision or other symptoms you should see your eye care professional for a comprehensive eye examination. Your optometrist will access your eye health and make recommendations for treatment and follow-up.
Your exam includes the use of an instrument known as the slit lamp biomicroscope, a specialized microscope that provides a magnified view of the external and internal structures of the eye.
How are Cataracts Treated?
Given that cataracts are typically very slow to change, the symptoms of a cataract may be addressed with nothing more than a change in eyeglass prescription. However should the symptoms continue to progress, surgical removal of the cataract may be recommended. Cataract Surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in North America. Modern techniques utilize anaesthesia (eye drops), takes less than 15 minutes, and requires no stitches. Recovery is very quick.