Director of the Phoenixville Hospital
Outpatient Surgery Center at Limerick
Cataracts are a very common cause of poor vision as we age. A cataract is the natural lens in your eye that becomes cloudy and yellowed over time. The lens is the part of the eye that focuses the light or an image to the back of the eye, much like the lens in your glasses focuses images for you. Developing a cataract is considered a natural part of aging, and everyone develops a cataract at some point in his or her lifetime.
The type of cataract that develops because of aging is the most common kind of cataract but it is just one type of cataract. A cataract can develop as a result of an injury to the eye. This can happen days or even weeks after an eye injury. Cataracts can also form as a result of other systemic medical diseases or from surgery of the eye such as glaucoma or retina surgery. This type of cataract is called a secondary cataract and is sometimes also liked with medications like steroids. Rarely even a baby can be born with a cataract, called a congenital cataract.
How Do I know if I have a Cataract?
Most cataracts cause slow vision changes overtime. Most patients will experience blurry vision that will cause them to have changes in their eyeglass prescription. As the cataracts worsen patients may experience extreme glare from the sun or headlights, and have difficulty driving in the dark. Over time, patients may also notice a yellowing of their vision that can dull colors and make it difficult to distinguish between colors like blue, black and brown.
Once you are diagnosed with a cataract you may initially be treated with stronger eyeglass prescription or you may require no treatment if the
cataract is not affecting your vision. Overtime, however, you may lose the ability to improve your vision with glasses and may find the things you enjoy doing on a daily basis more difficult or impossible like reading or watching television. It is at this time when you and your eye surgeon may discuss the possibility of having cataract surgery to remove the cataract. Cataract surgery is currently one of the most successful and commonly preformed procedures in medicine. During your cataract surgery your doctor will remove your cloudy lens and replace it with a clear lens. Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, meaning you will go to the hospital or surgery center and have surgery and go home the same day.
Cataracts share symptoms of other eye diseases that can be considered serious. If you notice changes in your vision, visit your eye doctor for a complete exam.
January is National Eye Care Month
This month has been dedicated world wide by eye care professionals to promote healthy vision. It is recommended you have an eye examination every year even if you do not wear glasses to check for diseases that may affect your vision.
Dr. Melissa Iglesias is an ophthalmologist with the Moore Eye Institute., She is on the medical staff of Phoenixville Hospital and is the Director of the Phoenixville Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center at Limerick. To schedule an appointment with the Moore Eye Institue at Phoenixville Hospital, call 610-422-5000.