“My eye doctor told me I had the start of a cataract…is there something I can do to get rid of it?”

What is a cataract?

Contrary to popular belief, a cataract occurs as part of the normal aging process of the eye. Virtually everyone develops a cataract at some point, typically beginning around mid- to late-60’s. Cataracts develop as the naturally clear lens inside the eye starts to become cloudy. Usually, this process occurs with aging, but other factors can cause cataracts to progress faster, such as smoking, exposure to UV sunlight, having diabetes or using corticosteroids for a prolonged amount of time.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Some people will compare their vision to looking through a dirty windshield when a cataract develops. Symptoms of a cataract can include blurred vision, increase in glare or halos at night, or needing more light to see. Cataracts typically don’t cause any pain or discomfort; in fact, when a cataract begins to develop, most people will not even have any symptoms at all.

What can I do about cataracts?

Unfortunately, like having another birthday, you can’t stop a cataract from developing and you can’t fix a cataract with LASIK surgery. It cannot be reversed or treated with medication or eye drops. However, there are things you can do to help slow the progression such as not smoking and wearing 100% UV protecting sunglasses when outdoors. Also, it is important to eat a healthy diet with good nutrition, focusing on foods that have lutein and zeazanthine (found in spinach, kale, and other green leafy vegetables), Vitamin E (sunflower seeds, spinach, and almonds), Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), and Vitamin C.

When do I need to have cataract surgery?

A cataract may not need to be removed right away if your lifestyle isn’t significantly affected. When you have reached a point when your vision can’t be improved with glasses or contacts, ultimately, the only treatment is cataract surgery. It is a simple and relatively painless procedure in which the cataract surgeon removes your cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear plastic advanced intraocular lens (IOL). Many advanced lifestyle lenses have been developed to make surgery less complicated for surgeons and the lenses are helpful for patients to regain better vision at all distances and less dependence on glasses.

Our doctors recommend that once you are diagnosed with a cataract, you keep up with your annual eye exams to monitor your vision for changes each year. When your vision begins to impair your lifestyle, that would be an ideal time to have a cataract evaluation by our cataract surgeon Dr. Trey Nunnery.

To schedule an eye exam or cataract evaluation call 704-540-9595.