Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss among older people. In fact, more than half of all Americans have them by age 80.
Cataracts happen when tiny proteins in your eye’s clear lens start to clump together. Over time, these clumps begin to block light as it passes through the lens to the light-sensitive retina, interfering with your vision in various ways.
Rodrigo Belalcazar, MD, of Advanced Eye Center in Hialeah, Florida, has extensive experience treating cataracts, and he has helped many patients enjoy clearer vision and a better quality of life. Here’s how he can help you.
Common cataract symptoms
The eye’s lens doesn’t become completely clouded overnight. Cataracts can develop slowly, and that means the symptoms can be very subtle in the beginning, so subtle that many people may overlook or ignore them.
Over time, you can start to notice vision changes, such as:
- Blurry or unclear vision
- Dim vision
- Difficulty seeing in dim light
- Colors that look faded
- Sensitivity to headlights or other bright sources of light
- Halos around lights
Many people with cataracts notice that they need to frequently change the prescription for their glasses or contact lenses.
Cataract risk factors
Older age is a major risk factor for developing cataracts, but it’s not the only one. Other issues that increase your risk of developing cataracts include:
- Family history of cataracts
- Lots of sun exposure
- Prior radiation therapy
- High blood pressure
- Eye injury or eye surgery
- Consuming a lot of alcohol
- Long-term use of corticosteroid medications
Even if you don’t have any of these risk factors, you can still develop cataracts. Since the early symptoms can be subtle, having regular eye exams plays a critical role in catching cataracts early, before you experience vision loss and the problems it can cause.
Restoring your vision
Some eye conditions that cause vision loss are irreversible. But for cataracts, there is treatment that can restore your vision.
Initially, when cataract symptoms are mild, you might counteract their effects by increasing the amount of light in your living areas or using a magnifying glass. But eventually, you’ll almost certainly need to have your cataracts removed in order to maintain your vision.
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States, performed as an outpatient surgery, which means you’ll go home the same day. Dr. Belalcazar uses state-of-the-art laser technology to remove the eye’s clouded lens. Then he replaces it with an artificial lens. You’ll be able to see clearly soon after your surgery, with complete healing taking about two months.
Many people have cataracts in both eyes. In that case, Dr. Belalcazar typically operates on one eye at a time, scheduling the surgery for the second eye once the first eye has healed.
Learn more about cataract treatment
Living with vision loss doesn’t just affect what you see. It can have far-reaching consequences for your quality of life and your overall health, too. In fact, one recent study found that having cataract surgery to remove clouded lenses is associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia.
If you have cataracts or any changes in your vision, don’t delay getting care. Call 305-874-0115 or book an appointment online with Dr. Belalcazar today.