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  • Writer's pictureNicole Legare

What is a cataract and what can I do to treat it?

Cataracts are a common condition that affects the eyes, particularly as people age. A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens inside the eye, which can cause blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing at night. If left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to vision loss and blindness. Everyone will eventually develop a cataract as we age.

Fortunately, cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can help to restore vision in people with cataracts. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens implant. The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis and takes only about 15-20 minutes to complete.

There are two types of cataract surgery, including traditional cataract surgery and laser-assisted cataract surgery. Traditional cataract surgery involves using a blade to make a small incision into the eye, then the cataract is removed using ultrasound energy. Laser-assisted cataract surgery uses a laser to perform some parts of the cataract surgery. Both types of surgery are safe and effective, and the choice of procedure depends on individual factors such as the patient's eye health and the surgeon's preference. There are risks to both types of cataract surgery including but not limited to infection, bleeding, increased eye pressure (glaucoma), damage the retina, loss or worsening of vision, or damage to the eye itself. These risks are very low and most patients do very well after cataract surgery.

After cataract surgery, patients may experience some mild discomfort, dryness, or itching in the eyes. It's important to follow your doctor's instructions carefully and avoid activities that could strain the eyes or increase the risk of infection, such as heavy lifting or swimming.

Most people experience significant improvements in their vision after cataract surgery, with many able to reduce their need for glasses or contact lenses. This depends on the type of intraocular artificial lens that is placed inside of the eye at the time of cataract surgery. Click here to learn about the different types of intraocular lenses.

In summary, cataracts are a common condition that can cause significant vision loss if left untreated. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can restore vision and improve quality of life for people with cataracts. If you are experiencing symptoms of cataracts, be sure to consult with your ophthalmologist.

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