One of the most common eye issues is the development of a cataract. The Gilbert Eyecare doctors are trained to detect, monitor, and facilitate treatment for cataracts. Severe occurrences may require cataract surgery and it’s important to understand when the procedure may be necessary and what type is required.
What is a cataract?
A cataract occurs when the lens in the eye undergoes changes, such as yellowing and opacification. It can be caused by sun exposure, aging, and can also occur without a trigger.
A cataract begins to impact vision when it gets severe enough to block light from reaching the back of the eye. This creates dimmer vision and reduced contrast or crispness.
Some risk factors for developing may include blood disorders, infections, high blood sugar, smoking, and more.
There are a few telltale signs that it may be time to move forward with cataract treatment:
1. It’s hard to see in the dark.
If night driving or even reading at night have become more difficult, it is a good indicator that your cataracts are interfering with light reaching the back of your eye.
Fully developed cataracts make it much harder to see in the dark, so even normal daily activities can be difficult.
2. You’ve become sensitive to light.
Cataracts can grow in different areas of the eye. Often a cataract developing on the back of your lens will create light sensitivity issues.
These issues could present with sunlight or even bright interior lighting.
3. Light sources have halos.
If you are beginning to see halos around light sources, it is time to find a cataract surgery near you. Since cataracts can block portions of light being taken in, the eye can add a halo to the source.
This is common with street lights or headlights, which adds to the difficulty of night driving.
4. Everything has a slight tint.
Cataracts impact how you see and dim the contrast and vibrancy of images being processed. This can make it seem like everything you are looking at has a brown tint or even looks yellow.
This is caused by the color of the cataract as it develops and can make it really challenging to distinguish colors or observe details.
What are the types of cataract surgery?
After consulting with your vision care team, like the Gilbert Eyecare doctors in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, your provider will refer you to a specialist where the next step is cataract surgery. Many of the procedures are outpatient, so you will be able to go home the same day with specific after treatment instructions.
Cataract surgery generally takes under an hour and doesn’t require sedation. Your surgeon will numb your eye and then make a tiny cut in the front of the eye. Depending on the type of cataract surgery you are undergoing, the incision may be made with a thin blade or your surgeon may use a laser to make the cut. Then the cataract will be broken up with a small tool and suctioned out.
There are also different types of lenses that can be used to replace the damaged one. Your surgeon will explain which is best for your circumstance, but you’ll leave the procedure with a new lens made of plastic, silicone, or acrylic.
The small incision in the eye heals without stitches. After your eye has fully healed from the cataract surgery, your vision should be restored, and you should be able to return to enjoying your normal activities without the side effects of cataracts.