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What is a cataract and what are the symptoms?

iol intraocular lens cataract ophthalmology

Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that come into the eye to help us see. The lens should be clear, but if you have a cataract, your lens is cloudy.

It is like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract.

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision impairment in the United States. However, because cataracts form slowly and over a long period of time, many people suffer from this condition without even realizing it.

Some vision changes you may notice if you have a cataract include:

There is no real way to prevent cataracts, and since they are a natural condition that occurs over time, cataracts can’t be prevented by medicines or diet.

The only way to truly correct your impaired vision is to remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new, artificial lens.

Do I need surgery?

You do not need to have cataract surgery if your symptoms are not too bad. You should consider surgery when cataracts keep you from doing your daily activities. You may also be able to slow the development of cataracts by protecting your eyes from the sun.

If you do decide to have cataract surgery, the good news is that it is a safe, simple procedure performed thousands of times every day all over the world.

And even better, cataract surgery can offer an opportunity to correct other vision problems you might have, such as astigmatism or presbyopia – even if you’ve had them your entire life.

Take Our Cataract Self-Test

What can I expect during cataract surgery?

A typical cataract procedure is quick and relatively pain-free. ln most cases, patients are back to their normal activities the very next day.

When preparing for your procedure, remember the following:

More than three million cataract procedures are performed each year in the United States alone. The process is fairly simple:

The whole process usually lasts less than 30 minutes

What happens after surgery?

Dr. Yi performing eye exam

Following your procedure, your brain will have to learn how to work with your new artificial lens. It might take a few weeks or even several months for your vision to be optimal.

After one year, and every year thereafter, you should have a complete eye exam by your eye doctor to ensure your eyes stay healthy.

While cataract surgery is a relatively safe procedure, there can be some complications or side effects. These complications are relatively rare, and most can be treated successfully.

Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of cataract procedures so you can make an informed decision about your options.

Other common vision problems:

While you may have a cataract, it is important to consider these other vision problems and their characteristics.

If you think you may need cataract surgery, please contact your ophthalmologist for more information. Should you need financial assistance, we offer financing through Wells Fargo Health Advantage for your cataract surgery.

For More Information or to Schedule an Appointment

Contact Massachusetts Eye Associates Today!

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