If you’ve ever seen an image of someone with a strangely white-looking lens, that person probably has a cataract. But what do you really know about this common eye disease, which afflicts some 24.4 million Americans aged 40 and older? Check out these frequently asked questions about cataracts from our eye doctor team here ar RevolutionEYES in Carmel and Fishers, Indiana.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are accumulations of proteins that give the lens of the eye a milky or cloudy appearance. As the proteins come together, they reduce the transparency of the lens, allowing less and less light into the eye.

Why do cataracts occur?

Most cataracts are a natural side effect of the aging process. Additional risk factors include UV exposure, smoking, alcohol abuse, medication such as corticosteroids, and certain systemic ailments such as diabetes.

Are there different kinds of cataracts?

The most common kind of cataracts, nuclear cataracts, develop in the center of the lens. Diabetics and steroid users may develop subcapsular cataracts, which develop toward the rear of the lens. A third type, cortical cataracts, develop from outer edge of the lens inward in a spoke-like or wedge-like pattern.

How do cataracts affect vision?

Cataracts can make images appear blurry or even give you double vision, at the same time reducing your ability to see at night or perceive colors accurately. One of the stranger symptoms is the appearance of halo-like patterns around bright lights. Untreated, advanced cataracts can eventually cause total vision loss.

If I have cataracts, how rapidly will my vision decline?

Fortunately, diagnosis of cataracts isn’t usually a pronouncement of imminent blindness. While the progress of cataracts can vary greatly, nuclear cataracts (the most common type) may progress for many years without seriously impairing your vision.

How does your comprehensive eye exam service detect cataracts?

Our comprehensive eye exam service includes several tests that can help diagnose cataracts. These include vision testing, examination of the front part of the eye with an ophthalmoscope, and the use of a specialized combination of a bright light and a magnifying device called a slit lamp.

What kind of treatment will my cataracts require?

A mild case of cataracts may require no treatment at all. Instead, your optometrist at our clinic will recommend annual exams to monitor cataract development and test your visual acuity. Glasses or contacts may be sufficient to compensate for changes in your vision. If the cataract becomes too opaque, your optometrist can co-manage a simple, painless surgical procedure to replace it with an artificial lens.

How can I delay the onset of cataracts?

While you might not be able to completely prevent the onset of cataracts, smart practices for keeping cataracts at bay include not smoking, controlling alcohol and steroid drug consumption, wearing sunglasses rated to block all UV radiation whenever you’re outdoors, getting early treatment for diabetes, and eating foods rich in antioxidants.

Got More Questions? Call RevolutionEyes Today!

Cataracts can be a disturbing and puzzling problem, but you’ll find all the answers you need at our Carmel and Fishers, Indiana eye care center. Call RevolutionEYES at (317) 844-2020 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam and learn more about your cataract care options!