People with cataracts often need frequent changes in their eyeglasses or contact lenses because their vision deteriorates over time. Glasses may help to improve vision in the early stages, but surgery is the only effective long-term treatment because cataracts get progressively worse in adults, although that may not be the case in some children. Cataracts occur when cloudy patches develop in the clear lens inside your eyes, stopping light from reaching the back of the eye, and causing blurred or misty vision. Cataract surgery is a procedure used to treat cataracts, where changes in the lens of the eye cause cloudy, blurry, or misty vision.
Eyeglasses or contact lenses can usually correct slight refractive errors caused by early cataracts, but they cannot sharpen your vision if a severe cataract is present. Other possible causes of cataracts include environmental factors and certain medications, such as antidepressants If your medical history or lifestyle increases your risk of developing cataracts, it is important to have your eye health monitored regularly by a qualified ophthalmologist. Following cataract surgery, lifetime supplementation with a specific canine antioxidant vision supplement may help reduce the risk of capsular opacification, secondary glaucoma, and/or retinal detachment forming (see our Veterinary Supplements page).
Nuclear sclerosis also occurs in humans, and the hardening of the lens with age results in reduced near-vision in people; this is why people in their 40′s and older need reading glasses—because their lenses no longer are soft enough to easily change shape to allow for near vision. If your cataract is affecting your day-to-day life (for example; driving, reading or cooking), and your optometrist cannot improve this enough by changing your glasses, you can ask them to refer you to an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) for cataract surgery This involves removing the cloudy lens (the cataract) and replacing it with a clear plastic one. Because they block light from passing through the lens, cataracts make it difficult to see clearly and can even cause blindness over time.
If the eye has other diseases that have caused visual loss such as glaucoma , macular degeneration , diabetic retinopathy , or optic nerve damage from glaucoma or other disease, cataract surgery may not improve the vision. Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light – wearing sunglasses in your younger years might help you avoid or postpone the development of cataracts. Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss (especially as we age), but are surgically treatable.
In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among people over 55. In the United States, cataracts affect an estimated 20.5 million or about one in six Americans older than age 40. By the time they’re 70, over one-half of all Americans have cataracts. The lens is mostly made from water and protein – it’s thought cataracts develop because of changes in the proteins, that result in cloudy vision. Cataracts occur when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy, restricting the amount of light that reaches the retina, leading to a decrease in vision.
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