A cataract is a clouding or opacification of your normally clear lens of your eye. Patients with cataracts perceive filmy or cloudy vision, as if they are looking through a dirty windshield. Some patients require a lot of light to read. Some experience glare and haloes around lights or see double or multiple images. Increased age, trauma, certain medical conditions, and steroid use are the main risk factors for developing cataracts.
Cataract surgery is usually considered when it impairs your ability to function in one’s daily life activities. Today, cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically takes fifteen to twenty minutes. The cataract is replaced with an intraocular lens. There are various intraocular lens options depending on visual goals and needs.
Macular Degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a disease that affects the central vision needed for reading, driving, and seeing faces. The macula is the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans over 50 years of age.
AMD is classified into two types. The “dry” form of AMD accounts for nearly 90 percent of the cases and ranges in severity from no symptoms to complete loss of central vision. “Wet” AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels form under the macula leaking blood and fluid.
Diabetes may in some individuals lead to a serious and potentially blinding eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes damages the retina by affecting its blood vessels. The vessels become weak which tend to bleed and leak fluid. With disease progression, blood vessels grow along the surface of the retina and typically bleed into the vitreous (the clear gel that fills the eye). Laser, injections into the eye, and sometimes eye surgery are required in some cases to attempt to control the disease.
Diabetic patients should have annual eye examinations, maybe more frequently if notified. Tight blood sugar control is recommended to control the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve of the eye. One known risk factor for glaucoma is increased pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure. Typically, there are no symptoms at first. Early findings are discovered with eye examinations. If undetected, glaucoma can progress with individuals usually losing peripheral vision initially , then losing central vision if allowed to progress.
People at risk, include those of increased age, steroid use (pill, drop, ointment, nasal spray), family history of glaucoma, and African Americans over the age of 40, should get annual eye exams at least or more frequently if indicated.