Dr. Min of Northwest Vision Center answers common questions about cataracts
Q. Could you explain what are cataracts?
A. Generally, cataracts are a cloudiness that develops in the natural crystalline lens that is inside of the eye. This usually happens over time, but there are other risk factors for developing cataracts such as the use of steroids, diabetes, sun exposure. Cataracts can even be congenital; there are actually infants that are born with cataracts.
Q. What are some symptoms I should watch for?
A. Cataracts will cause blurriness of your vision, that affects eyesight typically at all distances. The blurriness tends to affect driving vision, computer vision and watching television. The other hallmark of cataracts is increasing glare, especially at night with headlights coming at you. People also may start seeing halos around street lights.
Q. What is the treatment if I develop cataracts?
A. In the early stages, if cataracts are not debilitating to your vision, they can be monitored. Sometimes changes in your eyeglass prescription or contact lens prescription can help. But at the point where cataracts are interfering with your vision, and we can no longer improve your vision through corrective eyewear, surgery is recommended. In this day and age surgery is actually an outpatient procedure, so most people are functioning pretty well even the very next day.
Q. At what age do we usually develop cataracts?
A. Cataracts are typically related to aging so it’s most common that cataracts start to show up in our 60s and 70s. But in our practice, and I think in many practices around the country, we have noticed that cataracts are starting to show up earlier and earlier in our patients. I think some of this is due to increased sun exposure, and ultra violet exposure from all of our electronic devices that we are using. In addition, there is a higher incidence of diabetes that is occurring in the United States now, and diabetes is one of leading causes of cataract development