Cataracts in Hummelstown, PA
Your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA wants you to know about the risks and dangers of cataracts. It’s estimated that over 24.4 million Americans aged 40 or over have some stage of cataracts. Cataracts affect the elderly more than any other demographic. By the age of 80, over half of Americans develop cataracts. Cataracts cause visual impairment and eventual blindness. Learn more about what cataracts are, what the risk factors are, and how to get treatment for cataracts in Hummelstown, PA.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. Since light cannot pass through a cloudy lens of the eye, the image that gets sent to the retina is blurred. This results in blurred vision. Imagine a camera lens. If your camera lens is cloudy due to condensation or something else, then any picture you take will be blurry. To get a sharp image, you must clean the camera lens. This is very similar to how the lens of your eye operates. It’s important to note that cataracts eventually lead to blindness.
What Are The Symptoms of Cataracts?
Your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA is the only one who can definitively diagnose you with cataracts. However, if you notice one or more of the symptoms of cataracts, that will prompt you to make an eye doctor appointment as soon as possible.
- Increasingly cloudy vision
- Increasingly hard to see at night
- Heightened sensitivity to lights, such as oncoming vehicle headlights or streetlights
- Halos around lights
- Colors seem dimmer; less vibrant
- Increasing need to change eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
- Increasing need to turn up light for reading or other close activities
- Color of iris seems different, or grayer than previously
- Double vision in one or both eyes
- Increasingly challenging to read; text or letters may blur together
- Increased incidence of auto accidents, fender benders or near misses.
- Increase in bumping into things at home or dropping items
Typically, the symptoms of cataracts come on slowly and you may not notice each symptom right away. The most obvious symptom of cataracts is the change in the appearance of your eyes. As soon as you begin to notice symptoms, be sure to contact your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA.
What Causes Cataracts?
Although it’s widely believed that cataracts are just a part of growing old, many people never develop cataracts. Aging is a factor for developing cataracts, but it’s not the only one. There are other risk factors for cataracts, including:
- Genetic predisposition
- Previous eye surgery
- Long-term use of steroids, such as prednisone
- Use of certain prescription medications
- Previous eye trauma
- Certain health conditions, such as diabetes
Your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA will also carefully examine your eyes, looking for signs of cataracts. But if you have one or more of these risk factors, it’s worth mentioning to your eye doctor at your next visit.
There are some things that anyone can do to help reduce the chances of developing cataracts, although none of them has been proven to absolutely prevent cataracts. However, if you have cataracts in your family, it makes sense to at least try to ensure your eyes remain healthy. Some things you can do include:
- Avoid taking drugs that raise your risk for cataracts; ask your physician for alternative prescription medication
- Wear UV-rated sunglasses
- Avoid straining your eyes. Read in the proper light and use magnifiers when necessary
- Use blue light blockers on your computer, devices, and phone
- Do not smoke
- Manage overall health issues, including diabetes and obesity
- Restrict alcohol intake; alcohol inhibits vitamin absorption
- Eat a healthy, whole foods diet rich in vitamins and minerals
- Have regular vision appointments
Living With Cataracts
Ultimately, the only treatment for cataracts is surgery. There is no other way to completely get rid of cataracts. However, cataracts develop slowly, over time. Until you are able to have surgery, there are things you can do to reduce the impact that cataracts have on your ability to see. Here are some early things you can do until your cataract surgery:
- Install brighter light bulbs throughout your home and office area
- Wear anti-glare sunglasses
- Opt for anti-glare prescription eyeglasses
- Keep magnifying glasses throughout your home and office for reading smaller print
- Install a magnifying screen over your computer monitor
- Get contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions updated
- Ask your physician about changing prescription medications
- Run errands during the day instead of at dusk
- Avoid driving at night; take a taxi or an Uber instead
- Purchase large-print books for reading
- Move the TV closer to your seating area
- Brighten the display on your TV
These things will help make your life more enjoyable while you await surgery for cataracts in Hummelstown, PA.
What to Tell Your Doctor About Your Cataracts
You should consult with your eye doctor in Hummelstown about living with cataracts. If you are having excess problems or experiencing dangerous or life-threatening events because of your cataracts, your eye doctor may be able to help. You should not have to worry about having an auto accident or falling at home due to cataracts. If your cataracts are developed to the point where your life or health is threatened, you should seek treatment.
Surgery For Cataracts
Your cataracts can be treated via surgery. This is the only long-term treatment for cataracts. Cataract surgery is considered to be very safe. A majority of people—nine out of ten—get nearly instant positive results after having cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis. This means that you don’t need to check into a hospital for an overnight stay. In addition, cataract surgery can be done with local anesthesia, which is safer than general anesthesia. The eye and the area around the eye is numbed, so you won’t feel a thing. You will be awake during the entire treatment. In most cases, patients opt for a sedative, which helps to keep them relaxed during the surgery.
During cataract surgery, your eye doctor carefully removes the clouded lens. The doctor then replaces the clouded lens with a clear lens, which is artificial. The artificial lens is called an intraocular lens. It stays in place as a permanent part of your eye.
After cataract surgery, you’ll need to take certain precautionary steps to minimize the risk of retinal detachment, infection, and bleeding. Your eye doctor will provide you with post-operative care instructions. Your recovery time will last about eight weeks, with gradual improvement beginning in a few days. There may be some eye discomfort for a few days, as well. Over the counter pain medication can help with this. Once you have fully recovered, you can expect to have much clearer vision, much like it was before you ever developed cataracts.
The very best thing that you can do to take care of your cataracts is to have regular eye doctor appointments. You should always be under the care of your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA, but especially so if you have cataracts or think you may be developing cataracts. For more information about cataracts or to book an appointment, please contact us today.