Cataract is a disease of the eye that results in the clouding of the lens of the eyeball. Cataracts prevent clear images from appearing on the eye’s retina; causing mild, moderate, even severe blurred vision.
Typically an eye disorder associated with aging (over half of the people in America over age 80 have either had a cataract or cataract surgery), cataracts generally occur later in life as the lens structure within the human eye changes and gets older. There are additional risk factors which can lead to earlier development of cataracts, such as diabetes and smoking.
Cataracts do not cause itching, irritation, pain, redness, or tearing. Cataracts affect vision. These symptoms can range from glare at night to difficulty at reading. When advanced, a cataract can decrease your vision for normal activities as well. Another determining factor is whether the decreased in the level of vision is below legal driving requirements.
With modern surgical techniques, we do not have to wait until a cataract is "ripe" any more. Basically, the time to perform surgery is when the decreased vision is starting to affect normal activities (e.g. driving, reading, etc.) More specifically, your cataract has to reach a certain level of density in order for most insurances to consider surgery as medically necessary.
At Regional Eye Center, our eye doctors can determine this for you. Your level of visual acuity has to reach a certain level. The glare test (Brightness Acuity Test) has to reach a certain level. During your comprehensive eye examination, our eye doctors can actually look at your lenses to determine whether or not your cataract is ready for surgery.
Although, once removed, a cataract does not grow back. In many cases, a scar tissue can form behind the intraocular lens implant. This may start to decrease your vision again. When this happens, all that is required is a simple in-office laser procedure to melt away the film. During your comprehensive eye examination, our eye doctors can determine if you need laser polishing after cataract surgery.