There are two nearly universal changes that occur with our eyes as we get older. When we pass our 40th birthday, presbyopia becomes almost standard. Presbyopia is the condition where the ciliary muscles that allow our eye to change shape to focus on near objects become less and less flexible. That’s why just about everyone in their 40s and above need reading glasses for reading, working on the computer, or reading a label on a box of oatmeal.
The other near universal issue with our eyes is the formation of cataracts. Statistics show that by the age of 65, over 90 percent of the people in the United States will either have cataracts or will have had surgery to remove them.
Let’s get into cataracts a bit in this springy blog in Wilmington.
What Are Cataracts?
Unlike presbyopia, which is a flexibility issue, cataracts affect the eye’s natural lens that is found behind the iris and the pupil. The lens is a clear film that takes in what we are seeing and focuses it on the retina in the back of the eye. When we’re young, our lens is crystal clear. But as we age, various factors including sun exposure cause proteins to clump in the lens. This clouds the lens, and as the proteins accumulate, the lens becomes cloudier and cloudier. It’s like looking through a dirty window when this occurs. If not addressed, this process continues until the cataract makes the person blind in that eye.
Cataracts develop slowly, so most people don’t really sense the changes in their vision. But things such as the vibrancy of color and halos around lights at night begin to show the developing cataract.
When a person’s eye gets to this point, there isn’t anything you can do other than have cataract surgery to replace the clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens. People wonder if there isn’t a treatment they can have, short of surgery, to address their cataracts. There is not. Surgery is the only treatment. Otherwise, vision will continue to suffer.
Cataract surgery is an amazing procedure. It only takes Dr. Groat around 10 minutes to remove the clouded lens and replace it with a sparkling new IOL. There’s no reason to avoid it.
Is it time to do something about your cataracts? Call us at Cape Fear, (910) 769-4590, to schedule a consultation.