As you and your eyes age, different types of protein begin to clump together. This causes murkiness and thickness to affect the naturally clear lens in your eye and it starts to get cloudy. Many people have described this sensation as trying to look through a foggy window because those in need of cataract treatment perceive images as less sharp, crisp, and vivid.
This is due to the fact that the clumped protein that caused your cataracts prevents light from reaching your retina. Therefore, the light does not pass through your lens and it gets scattered, blurred, and distorted. This results in a gradual deterioration of your vision. In addition, colors will be subdued, and you may experience glare around lights. If you do not have it properly treated, cataracts can ultimately lead to blindness.
While most cataracts are caused by age, they can also be a result of trauma, heredity, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Additionally, cataracts can also occur as a result of eye disease, after the use of certain medications, or as a result of medical conditions such as diabetes. Moreover, cigarette smoking is also a major contributing factor in the need for cataract surgery.
Unfortunately, cataract surgery is the only way to correct cataracts. However, it is an outpatient procedure that usually lasts less than 30 minutes. During the procedure, your doctor will remove the natural lens in your eye, which the cataract has made cloudy and replace it with a new one, known as an intraocular lens (IOL).
The goal of cataract surgery is to correct the decreased vision that was caused by the cataract. However, it will not correct eye problems such as glaucoma, those brought on by diabetes, or age-related macular degeneration. In addition, most people still need to either wear glasses or contact lens after cataract surgery for either near and/or distance vision and astigmatism or have lasik eye surgery in order to correct these issues.
Prior to the procedure, you will undergo a complete eye exam. However, if you wear contact lenses, you must leave them out of your eyes for a period of at least three weeks before your preoperative eye examination and before your surgery. This is done because the contact lens rests on the cornea and distorts its shape and this can affect the accuracy of the doctor’s calculations needed in order for surgery to be successful.
Prior to the procedure, you will be given a local anesthetic in the form of eye drops. Once your eye is numb, an incision is then made in the eye and the natural lens is removed and the IOL is placed inside your eye. Your eye will be examined the day after surgery and periodically after that. You will need to place drops in your eyes for approximately one month. However, you should be able to resume your normal activities within two or three days, and your eye will usually be stable within three to six weeks.