If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, you may wonder if cataract surgery is right around the corner. At Abraham Eye Associates, Dr. Mark J. Abraham, O.D. leads a team of highly skilled doctors who draw from years of expertise in ophthalmology and can help you treat your cataracts.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye that develops over time. Cataracts can develop as we age, which is why many elderly adults experience this condition. A common symptom of cataracts is blurry vision. Luckily, cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to treat it and help improve your vision.
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
Your cataracts can be diagnosed by your eye doctor. At Abraham Eye Associates, we may diagnose cataracts with the following tests:
- Vision test
- Eye structure exam
- Retinal exam
- Fluid pressure test
How Are Cataracts Treated?
If the blurriness from your cataracts hinders your vision to the point where reading, driving, or watching TV becomes difficult, cataract surgery may be recommended for you. During this surgery, your eye surgeon will remove the clouded lens and replace it with a new artificial lens or intraocular lens (IOL). This procedure will eliminate blurriness and any other cataract symptoms you experience while also improving your vision.
Who Is a Candidate for Cataract Surgery?
Ideal candidates for cataract surgery are adults who are suffering from impaired vision due to cataract symptoms and want to improve their sight. Candidates should be in overall good health with no underlying health or eye conditions that can prevent proper wound healing.
When Should I Consider Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is not always needed, even if you have cataracts. However, one of the most important signs that you should consider cataract surgery is if your vision affects your quality of life. Blurry vision can have a huge effect on your ability to perform daily tasks such as driving, reading, watching TV, or using your phone. Because cataracts are often unharmful, many people do not prioritize the necessity of surgery. However, if left untreated, cataracts may worsen your vision.
Cataracts can also worsen at a faster rate in patients who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity. Because of this reason, surgical treatment may be recommended to restore your vision quality.
Cataract surgery may benefit you if you have experienced any or multiple of the following:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Light sensitivity
- Glare sensitivity
- The need for brighter lights when reading or using a phone
- Seeing “halos” through your vision
- Changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
- Fading or yellowing of colors through your vision
To find out if you can benefit from cataract surgery, consult one of our skilled doctors today.
Can Cataracts Be Prevented?
While it may not be possible to completely prevent cataracts, there are many preventive steps you can take to slow the progression of cataracts and preserve your vision. That doesn’t mean you won’t eventually need surgery, but you can at least delay the need for quite a while.
Protect Your Eyes From The Sun
The National Eye Institute recommends protecting your eyes from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) and high-energy visible (HEV) rays by always wearing good quality sunglasses while outdoors. Look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays and absorb most HEV rays with large lenses or a close-fitting wraparound style. Remember that the peak hours for sun exposure are between 10 am and 3 pm or 11 am and 4 pm during daylight savings time and that the sun’s rays are strong enough to pass through clouds, so you need your sunglasses every day.
Avoid Steroid Eye Drops
Steroid eye drops are routinely prescribed to treat dry eyes or an arthritic flare-up in the eyes. Unfortunately, they can also speed up the progression of cataracts. Talk to your Optometrist about how you can manage both conditions without inadvertently making your cataracts worse – and hastening the need for surgery.
Check Your Medications
There are over 300 commonly prescribed medications with side effects that may impact cataract progression. Since your primary care physician may not have access to your eye doctor’s medical records, be sure to ask your doctor if your current medications will affect your cataracts. If you must stay on the medication, it’s even more important to avoid sunlight during peak hours and to wear sunglasses.
If you haven’t quit already, here’s another good reason to do it: over time, the damage from smoking can double or triple an individual's risk of developing cataracts. If you’ve been a smoker, your habit was probably a big contributor to the diagnosis. The good news is – by quitting smoking now, you can slow the progression of cataracts.
Follow Eye Health Diet Guidelines
Studies have shown that certain vitamins and nutrients may reduce age-related decline in eye health, particularly antioxidants. If you’ve already been diagnosed with cataracts, adding foods rich in antioxidants to your diet will help slow the progression. This list isn’t exhaustive, but here are some examples to get you started: dark chocolate, blueberries, strawberries, pecans, carrots, sweet potatoes, artichokes, kale, red cabbage, beans, beets, spinach, apples, and plums.
Doctors also recommend eating more fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. This has been linked to a potentially reduced risk of cataracts or their progression. You may also consider taking a multivitamin that contains Vitamin C and E. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about how you might adopt a healthy eating plan that’s designed to prevent cataracts.
Fortunately, making these healthy modifications to your diet can prevent many other lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Studies have shown that a diet rich in processed carbohydrates can increase your risk of both developing cataracts and speeding up its progression. It’s important to develop a plan that works for you and supports your holistic health.
Take control of your cataract diagnosis by getting regular eye exams, communicating with your doctor, and putting these tips into practice. You’ll have better vision and prevent the need for cataract surgery in the near future.
Schedule a Consultation for Cataract Treatment Today
At Abraham Eye Associates, we are ready to help you say goodbye to blurry vision. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark J. Abraham, O.D., for a cataract diagnosis or cataract treatment by clicking here. Don’t settle for impaired vision. To find out more about cataract surgery, give us a call at one of our two convenient PA locations: Villanova, PA (484-209-0800) or Newtown Square, PA (484-380-3864).