There are several structures in the eyes, each one with an important role. At the front of the eye is the lens. You could think of this just like a camera lens, a movable structure that can focus up close and far away to produce clear, sharp vision. The lens of the eye has proteins that keep it functional. Sometimes, protein particles get thick and they start clumping together. When this happens, vision begins to deteriorate.
Life with Cataracts Isn’t So Bad Until It Is
Here’s what is interesting about cataracts. You don’t wake up one day to cloudy vision. Cataracts form bit by bit, one clump of protein at a time. Once proteins start accumulating, more and more tiny particles join the whole. Although this process persists, it occurs very slowly.
It can take years for enough particles to clump together for it to feel like you’re always looking through a foggy window. Before that time, though, there are clues that something is changing in the eye.
The signs of cataracts are so subtle they’re usually missed. They may include the dulling of colors. What used to look bright and vivid gradually looks bland. Night driving is usually affected by cataracts because the proteins that have accumulated on the lens of the eye cause glares and halos to appear around headlights and street lights. When cataracts become very bad, people may have a hard time reading and may not see the features of loved one’s faces as well as they used to. The changes in vision can decrease a person’s engagement in life. It doesn’t have to be this way. When the signs of cataracts are noticed, we can begin talking about how to manage vision and when to start thinking about cataract removal surgery.
Candidates for Cataract Surgery
Cataract removal surgery is one of the most common procedures ophthalmologists perform. It is quick, safe, comfortable, and efficient. There is no hospitalization needed for cataract removal, the procedure is performed in the office in under an hour. Before beginning, the ophthalmologist administers eye drops that numb the eye. During the procedure, patients may feel subtle pressure but no pain as the eye’s lens is accessed. Controlled energy is used to break the clouded lens apart so it can be removed without affecting the capsule around it. A synthetic intraocular lens is placed where the natural lens was, and the tiny incision closes naturally within a short time. Within about one month after cataract removal, most patients’ vision has been nicely restored with no lingering blurriness.
We are proud to serve patients in the Winchester, VA area. To learn more about cataract removal surgery, call 540.722.6200.