What are cataracts?
We are all born with a clear lens in each of our eyes. As light hits the front of our eyes, it passes through the front clear layer called the cornea, then passes through the clear lens, and finally onto the back part of the eye called the retina. From then on, the retina and brain goes through various processes that gives us the image that we see! Just like a camera that you use to take photos.
As we age, the lens becomes less clear and more “cloudy” causing vision to degrade as well as the need to have more light to see clearly. It is similar to your dirty windshield on your car. No matter how bright your headlights are, you still have trouble seeing clearly through the dirty windshield.
Last week, we had a 55 year old patient come in complaining of blurry vision in which driving at night is worst. He thought he just needed a new eyeglass prescription. Long story short, he has a significant cataract in one of his eyes and updated eyeglass prescription will not get him to where he wants to be, visually. We also took photos of the back of the eye to ensure nothing else is going on (nothing else). Here are his photos for his right and left eye.
As you notice, one image is clear and other is cloudy. If I can not see in clearly, then the patient can not see out clearly.
You can not feel cataracts “growing”. This is not an emergency either. There are various causes of cataracts and majority are due to aging (>60 years old). There are also many types of cataracts as well different stages. Just because you have been told you have a cataract, it does not mean you need surgery.
Unfortunately, this patient had an uncommon form of age-related cataracts in which causes vision to be degraded significantly. We referred the patient to a neighborhood cataract specialist to discuss surgical options. And no, no eye drops can “fix” the cataract.
How to prevent cataracts you say? Well, a good healthy diet is start. If you live an unhealthy lifestyle, every part of your body is affected. Consistent UV protection with quality sunglasses can prevent the cataracts from happening sooner. Even though we all will get cataracts, not everyone needs surgery!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment!