Cataracts: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Cataracts, a common eye condition particularly among older adults, can significantly impact vision and quality of life. At Plaza Vision Optometry in Monrovia, California, we frequently encounter patients concerned about cataracts and seeking information and treatment. In this blog post, we’ll explore what cataracts are, how they develop, their symptoms, and the treatment options available, hence providing a comprehensive overview of this prevalent eye condition.

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. The lens of the eye is primarily made of water and protein. As we age, some of the protein may clump together, moreover start to cloud a small area of the lens. Over time, this may grow larger, thus clouding more of the lens, making it harder to see.

For a deeper understanding of cataracts, this article by Harvard Health Publishing offers valuable insights.

Causes of Cataracts

While the most common cause of cataracts is aging, several other factors can contribute to their development:

  • Aging: As you get older, changes in the lens of your eyes can lead to cataracts.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk.
  • Excessive Sunlight Exposure: Ultraviolet light from the sun may contribute to the development of cataracts.
  • Smoking and Alcohol: Lifestyle factors like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk.
  • Family History: Genetics can evidently play a role in cataract development.

Symptoms of Cataracts

They typically develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. In this case, common symptoms include:

  • Blurred Vision: Vision may appear cloudy, blurry, or dim.
  • Increased Difficulty with Vision at Night: Cataracts can make it harder to see in low light.
  • Sensitivity to Light and Glare: Bright lights may appear too glaring or create halos.
  • Fading or Yellowing of Colors: Colors may not appear as bright as they used to be.
  • Changes in Prescription Glasses: Frequent changes in lens prescriptions can be a sign of cataracts.

Diagnosing Cataracts

A comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist can diagnose cataracts. The exam typically includes the following:

  • Visual Acuity Test: This test measures how well you see at various distances.
  • Dilated Eye Exam: Drops are used to widen your pupils, allowing the doctor to examine your retina and optic nerve.
  • Tonometry: This test measures the pressure inside your eye.

Treatment Options

  1. Early Stages

In the early stages, cataracts may not significantly affect your vision. Adjustments like stronger lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, and updated eyeglass prescriptions can help manage symptoms.

  1. Cataract Surgery

When cataracts interfere with daily activities, surgery may be recommended. Cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful procedures performed in the United States. It involves the removal of the clouded lens and, in most cases, its replacement with a clear, artificial lens.

  1. After Surgery

Post-surgery, most people can return to their normal activities within a few days. Full healing often occurs within eight weeks.

For an in-depth look at cataract surgery and recovery, read this article by Mayo Clinic.

Preventive Measures

While cataracts due to aging are hard to prevent, some measures can help reduce the risk:

  • Protect Your Eyes from UV Light: Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and not smoking can reduce the risk.
  • Manage Health Problems: Keep diabetes and other health conditions under control.
Plaza Vision Optometry: Your Ally in Eye Health

At Plaza Vision Optometry in Monrovia, California, we’re committed to providing comprehensive eye care, including cataract assessment and referrals for surgery. Our experienced team is here to guide you through understanding and managing cataracts.

Why Choose Plaza Vision Optometry?

  • Experienced Professionals: Our team brings years of experience in diagnosing and managing eye conditions like cataracts.
  • Advanced Diagnostic Tools: We use state-of-the-art equipment for accurate diagnosis and monitoring of eye health.
  • Personalized Care: Each patient receives individual attention and customized care plans suited to their needs.

To conclude, cataracts are a common eye condition that can significantly impact vision, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, they can be effectively managed. Regular eye exams are crucial for early detection and management. At Plaza Vision Optometry in Monrovia, California, we are dedicated to providing our patients with the highest quality of eye care to maintain optimal vision and eye health. If you’re concerned about cataracts or any other vision issues, schedule an appointment with us today for expert care and guidance.


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