Cataracts: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside your eye located behind your iris. This lens is responsible for focusing light and producing a clear image on the retina at the back of your eye. When this lens gets clouded the light is diffused and scattered which results in the blurring and defocusing of your vision. In some cases, cataracts can develop very rapidly. While generally this happens in elderly people, it has been known to happen in younger people and even infants. Currently, there is no medical treatment (drops or pills) that will prevent or reverse the formation of cataract. Surgery is the only option.

What are the causes of Cataracts?

The American Optometric Association (AOA) lists several reasons for the development of cataracts. While most cataracts are the result of age-related changes to the natural lens, there can be other factors. Health conditions such as diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and glaucoma can result in the development of cataracts. Ultraviolet radiation, smoking, alcohol and prolonged use of steroids are other factors.  Even eye trauma can result in the formation of cataracts. 

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Visual symptoms of cataracts can vary from person to person. Most people experience a decrease in vision, glare or halos around light sources making night driving difficult, a “yellow” hue to objects, difficulty reading and performing normal daily activities. When these symptoms occur and your doctor can no longer improve your vision, it may be time for cataract surgery. 

How is cataract treated?

A cataract is treated with an outpatient surgical procedure

What is cataract surgery?

Cataract Surgery is the removal of your natural clouded lens and replacing it with a new clear artificial lens called an ‘Intraocular Lens’ (IOL). The surgeons traditionally perform this procedure by making a tiny incision in the eye with an instrument about the size of a pen tip. Thanks to huge medical advances, several of the most critical steps of cataract surgery can now be performed with a computer-guided refractive cataract laser called ‘LenSx’ laser. The LenSx laser cataract procedure is bladeless and has significantly increased surgical precision.