Cataracts are a common cause of vision loss among older women and men, with onset typically occurring when a person is in their 40s or 50s. A progressive vision problem, cataract symptoms may not be noticeable at first, with vision loss progressing with age.
A leading ophthalmologist in Hialeah, Florida, Rodrigo Belalcazar, MD, offers state-of-the-art cataract treatment for patients at Advanced Eye Center. If you have cataracts, or if you suspect you might, here’s what you need to know.
Quick facts about cataracts
A cataract happens when your eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy. The lens plays a critical role in focusing light at the back of your eye where light-sensitive cells help “translate” what you’re seeing into recognizable images.
When the lens grows cloudy, some of that light is blocked, leading to symptoms like:
- Cloudy vision
- Washed-out colors
- “Yellowing” of colors
- Difficulty seeing at night or in dim light
- Problems reading or doing close-up work
- Halos around bright lights
- Sensitivity to light
- Double vision
Although cataracts are common among older people, they can occur among younger people, too, often as a result of injury. Sometimes, cataracts are present at birth, which is a condition called congenital cataracts.
Cataract surgery is the only way to truly eliminate the symptoms associated with cataracts. Performed as an outpatient procedure, cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the United States, with nearly 4 million procedures performed every year.
During the surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. Recovery is usually quick.
Seeing better with cataracts
While surgery is usually the best solution, if your cataract symptoms are mild, you may be able to see better with a few simple changes.
Increase your lighting
As your lenses grow cloudier, you’ll almost certainly have difficulty seeing in low light conditions or even average room lighting. Changing your light bulbs for brighter versions, adding additional light fixtures, or changing your lampshades to lighter options may help. You also might want to add some night lights near your bathroom or on any stairs to help you navigate at night.
Adjust your prescription
If you wear corrective lenses, changing your prescription may help you see more clearly in the very early stages of cataracts. A thorough eye exam can help Dr. Belalcazar determine if a prescription change is warranted.
Change your phone settings
If you text or use your phone for directions or to access the internet, head on over to your phone’s settings and look for an option that allows you to enlarge the typeface. Switching to a larger typeface may make it easier to read your phone’s content. You can also try increasing the brightness on your phone. And, if your phone has the ability to voice type, you may want to give it a try.
Use a magnifying glass
Cataracts can make it difficult to read or do close-up work. Using a magnifier may help you perform some tasks that require deep focus. Look for hands-free models for greater flexibility.
Change your driving habits
Cataracts can make it especially difficult to see at night. Plus, oncoming headlights and streetlights can be blurry, cause glare, or even form distracting halos. If you have cataracts, it may be best to avoid driving at night to reduce your risk for accidents.
Don’t ignore vision changes
The symptoms associated with cataracts can be caused by other vision problems as well. Having a comprehensive eye exam is the best way to know why your vision is changing. Then, you can receive the appropriate care to protect your eyes and your eyesight.
To learn more about cataract treatment or to schedule an eye exam, call 305-707-6011 or book an appointment online with Dr. Belalcazar today.