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Why Are Cataracts So Prevalent?

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. They affect even more people than glaucoma.

A cataract can develop for many reasons but the most prominent is age. As we age, usually beginning around the age of 40, the proteins in the lens of our eye can begin to clump together.

This creates a cloudy spot in your vision known as a cataract. If cataracts aren’t treated they will obscure your vision. There’s not a known reason why age-related cataracts form but it’s thought to be part of aging.

Given enough time, everyone would develop cataracts, but not everyone experiences cataracts. Cataracts are very prevalent in the aging population.

Over 30 million people are projected to have cataracts in the next few years. Keep reading to learn more about cataracts!

Types of Cataracts

There are three types of cataracts. The first and most common is a nuclear cataract. They are “nuclear” due to the fact that they begin growing in the center part of the lens.

They are the most common form of cataract that affects people due to aging. In the early stages, a common symptom is “second sight”.

Second sight increases your ability to see things clearly up close. This goes away shortly and the classic negative symptoms of cataracts begin to occur.

Subcapsular cataracts affect people that use steroids or patients with diabetes more. They begin growing on the surface of the rear part of the lens. Symptoms from subcapsular cataracts often manifest as halos or glare from light.

A cortical cataract presents as opaque areas that extend from the edges of your lens in cone shapes. This changes the balance of the water content inside of the lens, causing fissures to form.

This makes this type of cataract look like a wheel with spokes reaching in. Common symptoms include glare, difficulty seeing contrast, and difficulty with depth perception. It’s also likely that there will be general blurriness.

Cataract Surgery

The name cataract surgery can be a bit misleading. The cataract does get removed, but so does the natural lens of the eye. The lens is then replaced with an artificial lens or IOL.

To begin, you’ll receive numbing eye drops. Once numb, the cornea gets opened using precision lasers. The lens, located behind the pupil, is then broken apart.

This is a technique called phacoemulsification. Once broken down, the pieces are gently removed and an artificial IOL replaces the lens.

These IOLs come in a wide variety of customized options. Depending on the IOL chosen, they can even reduce dependence on glasses. It’s important to choose the right IOL.

This is a conversation that you should have with your doctor before the procedure. They can go over the pros and cons of each IOL and what their recommendation is.

Concerned that you may have cataracts? You owe it to yourself to contact Bennett & Bloom Eye Centers in Louisville, KY! Our helpful staff will help you set up a cataract appointment with one of our expert doctors.