Focus on Restoring Your Vision During Cataract Awareness Month

6.3.2024

 

Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness, but surgery can restore cataract-related vision loss.

Cataracts Make Spring Colors Appear Dull and Cloudy

The beauty of nature comes alive in springtime, boasting every shade of green and myriads of colorful blossoms. From the first tulips that emerge on a chilly morning to the hearty zinnias that reach for the sun, spring flowers are a delight to the eyes. Every day is a new opportunity to see Mother Nature’s splendid palate of brilliant hues.

If you notice colors aren’t as bright as they used to appear, you may be developing a cataract. Even though some people don’t experience symptoms at first, cataracts can lead to cloudy vision and fading or yellowing of colors. June is Cataract Awareness Month, a time to learn about how cataracts form and what you can do to preserve your vision.

How Do Cataracts Form?

A cataract is a hazing of the eye lens that impedes the passing of light into the eye. As you age, the proteins and fibers in the lens clump together and cloud the view. Cataracts are extremely common in mid- to late adulthood. More than half of Americans will have a cataract by age 80, according to the nonprofit organization Prevent Blindness. Over time, cataracts can make everyday activities like reading, driving and house cleaning difficult and will cause significant vision loss if allowed to go untreated.

What Is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery can restore cataract-related vision loss, and most patients will experience clear vision again. Unlike other eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration, cataracts can be removed to restore eyesight.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest surgical procedures in the United States and around the world. Eye surgeons perform about four million cataract surgeries every year in the U.S. alone.

The operation includes removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial one called an intraocular lens (IOL). An IOL is constructed from silicone, acrylic or other plastic materials and often has a protective coating against UV rays.

In most cases, the procedure is completed in 10 to 20 minutes. You receive mild sedation and eye drops to anesthetize the eye and dilate the pupil, and then your surgeon removes the cataract. Patients affirm the procedure is painless and they do not feel discomfort.

Shortly after surgery, you should notice that colors appear brighter, but you may still experience some blurred vision for the first few days. Your eye doctor will prescribe drops to prevent inflammation. You will return for several post-op visits to make sure you are healing properly.

What Type of IOL Is Best for You?

Several types of intraocular lenses are available including the following:

  • Monofocal IOLs are typically included in Medicare and other insurance coverage for cataract surgery. It is designed for sharp distance vision, so you still may need reading glasses. If you have astigmatism and choose a monofocal lens, you will likely need to wear glasses all the time.
  • Astigmatism-correcting IOL — Astigmatism causes blurred vision because the cornea has an irregular shape. In some cases, a surgeon can make limbal relaxing incisions to alter the shape of the cornea to treat mild astigmatism. Toric IOLs can help with higher levels of astigmatism. This type of lens is not covered by insurance so you will be responsible for paying an extra fee.
  • Multifocal IOL — A multifocal lens can help you see near, intermediate and distance and sometimes correct astigmatism so you may be able to be glasses-free. About 80 to 90 percent of patients with multifocal lenses don’t need to wear glasses. This is the most expensive IOL because insurance will not cover it. However, choosing the multifocal lens potentially will save thousands of dollars you would normally spend on new eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Schedule Your Comprehensive Eye Exam During Cataract Awareness Month

All adults older than 40 should get a complete eye exam with dilation. Make an appointment with an ophthalmologist during the month of June to evaluate your eye health and screen for cataracts. Some of the symptoms of cataracts include the following:

  • cloudy or blurred vision
  • double vision
  • difficulty seeing at night
  • lamps and headlights seem too glaring and bright
  • seeing halos around lights
  • needing to change prescriptions for contacts and glasses often

Your doctor will also give you a visual acuity test, look for refractive errors and screen you for common eye conditions and vision problems.

Find an Ophthalmologist Near You

Are you looking for a board-certified ophthalmologist? Our eye care centers are located across the country and are accepting new patients. Observe Cataracts Awareness Month by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam for your family. Healthy vision is a precious gift that requires regular maintenance.