About 24 million Americans have at least one cataract, according to the National Eye Institute, and most of those people are age 50 or older. The good news is, cataracts can be successfully treated. In fact, cataract surgery is one of the most common types of surgeries among older people in the U.S.

What are cataracts?

Cataract refers to a condition that affects the lens of your eye which is located behind your pupil. The lens admits light to the light-sensitive retina and the optic nerve, which transmits visual information to the brain. As we get older, proteins in the lens begin to clump together, causing the lens to become cloudy and preventing light from reaching the retina. Less commonly cataracts may form following an injury or surgery to the eye.

Am I at risk for cataracts?

Older age is the biggest risk factor for cataracts, but there are others including:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • smoking
  • prolonged unprotected exposure to UV rays including sunlight
  • alcohol abuse
  • obesity
  • family history of cataracts
  • long-term use of steroids
  • personal history of eye inflammation

How do cataracts affect vision?

Because cataracts block light transmission to the retina, one of the most common symptoms is an inability to see in low-light conditions. Colors may appear dull and it may be difficult to read or perform other close-up work. Many people also experience increased glare. As the cataract progresses, it will become harder and harder to see out of that eye until blindness eventually occurs.

How are cataracts treated?

Some patients with mild cataracts may be able to cope with initial vision problems with magnifying lenses and by using brighter lights to perform tasks. For more moderate to severe cataracts, surgery can be performed to remove the cloudy, damaged lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. Different styles of lenses are available depending on your specific needs. Cataract surgery is one of the most common types of surgery performed on older adults in the U.S. During the procedure, a very small incision will be made in your eye and special instruments will be used to gently break apart the lens and suction it out. Then, the IOL will be carefully positioned in the same area as your natural lens.

What kinds of cataract services does Eye Care of Virginia offer?

As a leading Culpeper optometrist practice, Eye Care of Virginia offers the comprehensive management of ocular diseases, including cataracts. Our optometrists are skilled in diagnosing cataracts, recommending and arranging for surgery, and helping patients receive the care they need following surgery to ensure the best possible outcomes. Plus, we offer ongoing exams and care so patients can feel confident in their long-term vision outcomes.

Visit Our Culpeper Optometrist Today

Your vision is critically important to your overall health and well-being. If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts or if you’re experiencing any type of vision issue, call (540) 825-3937 today to schedule an exam and take the first step toward better eye health.