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What is a Cataract?

With age, several different eye conditions can affect you. One of the most common age-related eye conditions is cataracts.

By the time most people are 75 or older, at least half will have already had a cataract. But age isn’t the only reason someone develops cataracts.

They can also be something you’re born with, develop due to medications like corticosteroids, or an injury to the eye or face. Although you’re at a higher risk of developing them, anyone can get them once you turn 40.

But what exactly are cataracts, and how do they affect your vision? Keep reading to learn more about cataracts and how to treat them when you start developing them.

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Cataracts are very common. They occur when your eye’s natural lens grows cloudy. This makes it harder to see, especially as the lens grows more and more opaque. 

More often than not, this is a side effect of aging and affects many people who are older than forty. But it can be hard to tell when you develop cataracts as they often appear slowly over many years. 

The best way to tell if you have cataracts is to see an eye doctor regularly. This will allow them to check when your cataracts begin developing and to track how advanced they get with time. 

There are also several symptoms that may show that you have cataracts. If you have several of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to see an eye doctor as soon as you can for diagnosis and treatment.

Blurred Vision

One of the biggest symptoms of cataracts is blurry vision. When your lens is clouded, it can be like looking through a foggy window pane. 

But this can also appear to be your eyesight getting worse. As cataracts are usually a result of aging, they may coincide with other age-related conditions like presbyopia. 

Presbyopia makes it harder to see objects up close. Cataracts make your vision at any distance blurry, especially when they’re very advanced.

Light Sensitivity 

Being sensitive to light can be a sign of several different conditions. When light sensitivity is also paired with seeing halos around lights and intense glare, it’s likely a sign of cataracts. 

Cataracts make your eyes sensitive to light. The increased glare from light sources makes that sensitivity worse. 

This can make it very hard to see when surrounded by many lights, especially in an otherwise dark setting. It can also make driving at night difficult, as headlights can make it hard to keep your eyes on the road.

Trouble Seeing at Night 

In contrast to light sensitivity, cataracts also make it harder to see in low light. This can make driving at night even more difficult as it’s hard to see dark areas and lit areas due to light sensitivity. 

It also can be harder to do up-close work like reading if you have inadequate lighting. You may find you can only work when you have a direct light on whatever you’re working on. 

This, too, can be mistaken for presbyopia, but the fact light can make reading easier and reading glasses won’t is a good sign that the issue is cataracts.

Seeing Colors as More Faded 

If you have cataracts, you may find colors seem duller. It can also be harder to spot the contrast between colors. 

You may find it harder to recognize objects against similarly colored backgrounds. This is a difficult symptom to spot as you lack a reference point for how colors should look when cataracts are affecting your vision. 

But if you find you have trouble seeing differences in colors that should be different shades, it can be a good indicator that you have cataracts.

Have more questions about cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV! Why not make the choice to see clearly in 2021 and have cataract surgery?

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If your cataracts have begun to affect your quality of life, it’s time to think about having cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed medical procedures.

It’s also the only way to treat cataracts and restore any vision that you lost because of them. Laser cataract surgery is common as well, and almost identical to traditional cataract surgery.

A laser is simply used to create incisions rather than a scalpel. Wondering what you can do to prepare before having laser cataract surgery? Keep reading to learn more!

Share Questions and Concerns with your Doctor

Before anything else, be sure to speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have. A good surgeon will be more than happy to explain anything you have questions about.

They will also give you instructions for what to do before and after surgery. Be sure to also discuss what medications you’re currently taking.

You should be able to take most of your medications as you normally would before surgery. Make sure to double-check as you may need to skip some due to how they interact.

Your doctor can tell you exactly what to take and what not to take before surgery.

Take A Day Off Work

To let your eyes heal, you should only need to take off one day of work after having laser cataract surgery. For the best results, you should avoid any heavy lifting.

Most patients have no problem going back to work the next day since the medications you’re given will have already worn off. Keep in mind that if you have a job that requires you to do a lot of heavy lifting, you’ll need to take off more time from work.

Arrange a Ride

While laser cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, you won’t be able to drive yourself home after surgery. Make sure you have someone who can take you to and from the surgery center.

In a pinch, you can use a rideshare app, but a friend or family member is always preferred. They should be someone you trust as you may need them to pick up food or medication and make sure you get inside and settled.

You may also want to arrange for someone to be around your home or to come by every once in a while during your recovery to help out so you can rest. Relaxation and resting is a very important part of the recovery process after having laser cataract surgery.

Fill Prescriptions Ahead of Time When Possible

It may be possible to get prescriptions for eye drops and other medications needed for your recovery filled before you have your surgery. If so, you should get them filled in advance so you have them ready and don’t have to worry about getting them after surgery.

If you can’t get them until after surgery, be sure to have a ride that can help you get them filled.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

It’s important to be well-rested before any operation, no matter how minor. Be sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour and eat a good dinner.

Your doctor may want you to not eat up to 12 hours before surgery. Having a good meal before then will keep you from feeling too hungry the next day. Check with your doctor to confirm if you can eat in the 12 hours before having laser cataract surgery or not.

Feeling prepared for laser cataract surgery? Schedule your cataract screening at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV today!

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Cataracts are extremely common. Usually, they are something that’s associated with age.

They form in the eye’s natural lens when the cells that compose the lens become slightly opaque. This causes the lens to become cloudy.

Cataracts tend to develop slowly over a period of years, making it difficult to tell if you even have them. The only way to know you have them is to have an eye exam from a professional. But there are symptoms you can and should be aware of.

Risk Factors

Many people will get cataracts at some point in their life, some earlier than others. There’s no way to prevent cataracts. There are a variety of factors that put you at higher risk for developing them. These include:

  • Being over 40
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • UV damage from overexposure to sunlight
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Traumatic eye injury
  • Extended use of corticosteroid medication

Some of these factors are avoidable to lower your risk, but some are not. If any of these factors apply to you, you should have regular eye exams so any cataracts you may develop can be spotted early.

Symptoms

Cataract symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Intense glare
  • Seeing halos around light sources
  • Trouble seeing in low light
  • Difficulty seeing contrast
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seeing double vision in one eye (monocular double vision)

These symptoms are usually subtle at first as cataracts develop slowly. Often, symptoms may be mistaken for presbyopia, which is age-related farsightedness.

Many people with cataracts also have presbyopia as they are both associated with age. When you have cataracts, you may have trouble reading or doing other fine motor tasks.

This is because it’s harder to see without direct light, but this may be mistaken as not being able to see as well up close. The distinction can be hard to make especially if you also have more trouble seeing up close due to presbyopia as well.

There are some more clear signs that you have cataracts as they develop. For instance, driving at night can be very hard for people with advanced cataracts.

Driving at night can become very dangerous. This is due to decreased ability to see in low light, glare from headlights, and sensitivity to lights from headlights and other road lights.

This is a clear sign of cataracts. You don’t want to wait until you find you’re putting yourself in danger driving at night to get a cataract diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Ideally, you should have your cataracts diagnosed while they’re still in early development. That way, they can be monitored and you can tell when they start to cause visual problems. This is why it’s important to have regular eye exams once you turn 40.

After receiving a diagnosis of cataracts, your doctor may or may not recommend treatment right away. The only way to treat cataracts is with cataract surgery.

This involves removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Because cataracts develop slowly, it may take years before they present any real symptoms.

As a result of this, you don’t usually need cataract surgery if they’re diagnosed in the early stages. Doctors recommend you have cataract surgery when your cataracts begin to affect your quality of life. At that point, cataract surgery can do wonders for your eyesight by restoring any lost vision due to cataracts.

Concerned that you may have cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Carson City, NV to find out!

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