What is a cataract?


A cataract is a clouding or opacification of the typically clear natural lens that one has in the eye when they are born.

What causes cataract?


While occasionally, people can be born with cataracts, they most often come on with age. The longer one is alive the more likely they are to develop a cataract. Some other risk factors for cataracts are: eye disease, systemic disease (eg. Diabetes, Hypertension), prior eye surgery, eye trauma, certain medications, malnutrition, and longterm exposure to ultraviolet light.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?


Some symptoms of cataracts are blurry vision, glare and halos.

Can you have cataract surgery too early in the disease process?


While technically speaking one cannot have cataract surgery too early, and sometimes clear lenses (a cataract is the clouded or opacified natural lens in the eye) are removed to help with high refractive errors, as with any surgery, one must consider the risk/benefit ratio of having any procedure done. All procedures can have possible complications, even in the hands of a top surgeon. For this reason, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends patients have a cataract removed when it is causing blurry vision/glare/halos that cannot be corrected simply by changing the eye glass prescription, AND the symptoms the patient is experiencing are interfering with their ability to perform their regular daily activities (driving in day or night, reading, sewing, golfing, etc.). That said, it is generally much less challenging to remove a cataract that is not especially dense. From that standpoint, a patient should discuss the variables at play in their particular situation with their surgeon, to come to a decision with which all are comfortable.

Can a retina examination be done if there is a cataract?


With most cataracts, your ophthalmologist will be able to examine the retina prior to performing surgery, however, with certain types of dense cataracts the direct view of the retina may be obscured by the cataract itself. In such cases, an ultrasound of the eye is typically done prior to cataract extraction to rule out a retinal detachment or a mass.

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