cataract imageA cataract is a clouding or darkening that develops in the normally clear lens of the eye.

This prevents the lens from properly focusing light on the retina, at the back of the eye, resulting in a loss of vision.  It is not a film that grows over the surface of the eye.

No one is exactly sure what causes a cataract, but it is known that the chemical changes within the lens cause it to become cloudy.  This is often thought of as a part of the natural aging process, but it may also result from heredity, an injury or disease.

Cataracts are often found in persons over age 55, but are also occasionally found in younger persons, even newborns.  Cataracts usually develop in both eyes, but often at different rates.  Some cataracts develop slowly over a period of years and others form rapidly within a few months.

A comprehensive eye examination from Dr. Monte Gallinger can determine whether or not you have cataracts.

Cataracts vary in their development from person to person, so the symptoms may also vary.

Here are some common symptoms that people experience:

  • Increased haziness causing blurred or distorted vision… colors may seem yellowed.
  • The appearance of dark spots or shadows that seem to move when the eye moves.
  • An increasing need for more light to see clearly.
  • A tendency to become more nearsighted because of increasing density of the lens
  • Double vision
  • A gradual loss of color vision
  • A stage where it is easier to see without glasses…second sight

Ultimately, if your cataracts impair your daily activities, we may refer you to an eye surgeon who may recommend surgical removal of the cataract.  The surgery is relatively uncomplicated and has a very high success rate.

When your eye’s natural lens is removed during cataract surgery, some type of treatment is usually needed to achieve clear, comfortable vision.

Interocular lenses, contact lenses and glasses are all common forms of post-cataract vision correction.  Interocular lens implants are inserted at the time of surgery and serve as “new” lenses.  Daily wear and continuous wear contact lenses have also become increasingly popular at post-cataract vision correction.

Whatever the treatment you and Dr. Gallinger choose, regular eye exams are important in making sure you maintain good vision and eye health.