When cataracts develop, the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, leading to blurry or distorted vision. Cataracts are typically age-related and can develop slowly over time. Symptoms of cataracts may include blurry vision, sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing at night.

Aging is the most common cause of cataracts since the eye lens proteins start to break down over time, leading to blurry and cloudy vision. However, other factors, such as genetics, eye injuries, and long exposure to sunlight, can also contribute to the development of cataracts. 

Regular eye exams are the best way to identify cataracts in the earliest stages. Cataract treatment often involves surgery to remove and replace the eye's lens that has become cloudy.

How Cataracts Occur

Cataracts occur when the proteins in the lens of the eye clump together, causing cloudiness or opacity in the lens. Normally, the proteins in the lens are arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and allows light to pass through it easily.

Eye lens proteins allow light to pass through. When cataracts occur, these proteins clump together, causing opacity and blurry vision. Constant exposure to UV radiation, aging, and other factors can cause the lens to become cloudy.

Types of Cataracts

Several types of cataracts affect different parts of the eye’s natural lens.

  • Nuclear cataracts affect the center of the lens. It is usually caused by aging and can cause the lens to turn yellowish or brown. 
  • Cortical cataracts affect the edges of the lens and progressively expand into the center. The areas of the lens that become affected can start to develop opacities that prevent light from entering properly into the retina. Cortical cataracts often make it difficult to see clearly in bright light.
  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts affect the back of the lens. Correlated medical conditions like diabetes or constant exposure to UV light often cause posterior subcapsular cataracts.

Symptoms of Cataracts

The symptoms of cataracts may include:

  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision

Cataract signs are slow to manifest and may be unnoticeable until they reach a more advanced stage. Regular eye checkups are important to identify silent symptoms and promptly start with the appropriate treatment.

Causes of Cataracts

Although the most common cause of cataracts is aging, some other factors include the following:

  • Genetics
  • Eye injuries
  • Prolonged exposure to UV radiation
  • Medications such as corticosteroids

Cataracts Risk Factors

Cataracts involve the natural deterioration of the proteins in the eye's lens, which often happens as one ages. Other factors that increase your risk of developing cataracts include

  • Smoking
  • Diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity
  • Family history of cataracts 
  • Previous eye injury or inflammation

Cataracts Diagnosis

Cataracts are diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam, which typically includes:

  • A visual acuity test that measures your vision at different distances.
  • A dilated eye exam that involves eye drops to dilate and examine your pupils.
  • A slit-lamp exam uses a bright light microscope to examine the cornea, iris, and lens.
  • A retinal exam involves the examination of the back of the eye.
  • A tonometry that measures the pressure inside your eye.

If cataracts are detected, your eye doctor may perform additional tests to determine the severity of cataracts and the ideal treatment for your case.

Cataracts Treatment

Although cataracts can only be removed with surgery, other treatments like home remedies or prescription glasses can help manage its early stages:

  • Home treatments often include using brighter lights around your house or workplace, wearing anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying glasses for reading. 
  • Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses can improve vision and help with regular activities like driving or reading. 

If your cataracts have progressed into a late stage, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove them. 

During the procedure, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with an implant. This is a common procedure and usually takes up to 30 minutes to perform. 

To replace your clouded lens with a clear artificial one, your doctor may perform one of the following procedures:

  • Ultrasound: During this procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in the cornea and insert a small probe into your cataract. Ultrasound waves are transmitted through this device, breaking up the cataract. The fragments are then suctioned using the same probe, and the artificial lens is placed.
  • Incision: This procedure is sometimes used for really advanced and dense cataracts. It involves a larger incision to remove the cloudy lens that comprises the cataract. Once the artificial lens is placed, stitches will be used to close out the incision.

Cataracts Prevention

Although no actual studies have determined how to prevent cataracts, doctors often provide helpful strategies to maintain a healthy vision, including

  • Have regular eye examinations. 
  • Quit smoking. 
  • Have a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Reduce alcohol use.

Cataract Surgery in New York

EyesNY offers treatment to help patients slow or stop the progression of cataracts. Our specialized team of ophthalmologists is ready to assess your needs and give you the high-quality vision care you deserve. 

We work with cutting-edge technology to identify the root cause of your condition and create personalized treatment plans. Our caring staff is ready to welcome you and meet your ocular health and vision needs. We offer comprehensive eye care services, including cataract surgery, and treat all types of eye conditions and diseases.

If you’d like a consultation or more information, contact us, request an appointment online, or visit our clinics. We have multiple locations around New York, including Malta, Clifton Park, Troy, Saratoga Springs, and Queensbury.

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658 Malta Ave., Ste 101
Malta, NY 12020

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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Saratoga Springs
414 Maple Ave Ste 200
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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Clifton Park
1712 U.S. 9
Clifton Park, NY 12065

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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535 Bay Road
Queensbury, NY 12804

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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2200 Burdett Street Ste 206
Troy, NY 12180

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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