Most of us will develop cataracts at some point in our lives. Once that happens, we can be certain of one thing: The condition will not improve on its own. To restore clear vision and quality of life, cataract surgery is required.
Here, the experienced ophthalmologists of Mack Eye Center outline the many ways cataracts take the clarity, color and enjoyment out of life for patients who wait too long to undergo this routine procedure.
Cataracts occur when the lens becomes cloudy, obscuring the image it projects on the retina. This process can begin in our 60s, and becomes more common with each passing year. The clouding effect progresses slowly, and its only recognizable symptom is the gradual blurring of vision.
Over time, images gradually become duller and hazier. Colors fade and vision slowly dims. These effects have real consequences for the quality of life and safety of individuals whose cataracts have become advanced.
In addition to overall deterioration in eyesight, cataracts lead to a decline in your ability to read fine print and they reduce the clarity of your nighttime vision. Both can have profound effects. Those who suffer from cataracts often require much brighter light to read even medium-sized text. Without this higher wattage, reading puts additional strain on the eyes.
Loss of sharp nighttime vision is a very dangerous thing for anyone driving after dark. Cataract sufferers will often experience nighttime vision anomalies such as glare, halos and starbursts around lights. Colors may take on a yellowish tint.
As the condition progresses, those experiencing cataracts may try to compensate by seeking stronger prescriptions for their glasses or contacts. This is only a partial fix that will not lift the fog in your field of vision. The problem is a clouded lens, not the way the lens focuses light on the retina.
Left untreated, cataracts can eventually inflame the eye or cause elevated eye pressure. High intraocular pressure often leads to glaucoma, the serious condition that damages the optic nerve and may result in total loss of vision.
The good news is that all of these burdens are completely unnecessary. The solution, cataract surgery, is simple, convenient and routine. Millions of cataract surgeries are performed each year. In this procedure, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a lens implant that will remain clear for life. Originally performed with the use of a miniature blade, cataract removal is now done using a femtosecond laser to make incisions.
The experienced ophthalmologists of Mack Eye Center have performed advanced cataract surgical procedures for hundreds of patients in Chicagoland and throughout Illinois. They also offer state-of-the-art intraocular lenses that will replace your natural lens with a permanent, resilient artificial version that, depending on your choice, can give you sharp vision at a variety of distances.
If you would like to learn more about cataracts and cataract surgery, schedule an appointment today at Mack Eye Center, conveniently located in Hoffman Estates.