One certainty in life is that if we live long enough, most of us will develop cataracts. Another equally certain fact is that cataracts will not improve on their own. To restore clear vision and quality of life, cataract surgery is required.
Here, experienced ophthalmologist Dr. Jay Schwartz of Phoenix-area Schwartz Laser Eye Center outlines the many ways cataracts take the color, focus and enjoyment out of life for patients who wait too long to undergo this routine procedure.
Life in a Fog
When cataracts develop, images progressively 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.
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.
In addition to overall deterioration in eyesight, cataracts lead to a decline in your ability to read fine print and 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. Cataracts can also make life less vivid. Colors seem dull and faded, and 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 Clear Solution
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.
As a premier eye surgeon, Dr. Jay Schwartz performs advanced cataract surgical procedures for patients in the Phoenix area and throughout Arizona. He also offers 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 superb vision at a variety of distances.
If you would like to learn more about cataracts, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation with skilled ophthalmologist Dr. Jay Schwartz at his Phoenix, Glendale or Scottsdale office by calling or emailing Schwartz Laser Eye Center today.