Do you have clouded, blurry, or foggy vision? It's possible you may have a cataract. If this is your first experience with cataracts, take a look at the top questions patients have about this common vision condition answered.
What Are Cataracts?
Before you can answer this question, you need to learn more about the eye's anatomy. Each eye has a clear lens behind the iris. The lens focuses the light that enters the eye. This allows you to see clearly. But if the lens is cloudy, you will have some vision loss. This is what happens when patients have cataracts. Instead of a clear lens, a cataract-covered lens has some degree of fogginess or clouding.
How Many People Have This Condition?
This vision issue is a common problem for many patients. The National Eye Institute projects by the year 2050, almost 50 million people in the United States will have cataracts. The likelihood of developing this condition increases with age (starting at 40 years of age), according to the National Eye Institute.
What Are the Primary Symptoms?
Again, vision changes or loss (such as cloudy, blurry, or foggy vision) are the main symptoms of cataracts. Along with these vision changes, this condition can cause double vision, sensitivity to light, changes in color perception, glare, or night vision issues. Even though cataracts can change the way you see, they typically aren't painful.
How Do You Know If You Have This Condition?
You should never self-diagnose this issue. Instead, cataracts require a professional diagnosis from an ophthalmologist or similar medical/vision professional. To diagnose this potential problem, the ophthalmologist (eye doctor) will dilate your pupils and look into your eyes. This exam gives the eye doctor a chance to detect cataracts, find the location of each one (if there are more than one), and note the size.
Can You Treat This Vision Condition?
Cataracts are a treatable vision condition. Small or minor cataracts may respond to a prescription change (if you already wear glasses). But this change won't fix or cure the problem.
If the issue progresses, the cataracts are large, or they cause significant vision loss, new glasses aren't the solution. Removal surgery is often necessary to eliminate cataracts. The ophthalmologist, or eye surgeon, will remove the foggy or cloudy lens. After the original lens is no longer in the eye, the doctor will then replace it with a clear artificial lens.