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What are cataracts and what are methods used to treat them?

Cataracts are very pervasive, and are responsible for about 50% of world blindness. But what exactly are cataracts and how can they be treated? A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that obstructs the passage of light. Cataracts often go undiagnosed for many years, and that’s the reason why they can lead to blindness.

Understanding Cataracts

The eye’s lens is responsible for focusing light to the back of the eye. The lens is normally clear, so that when light passes through it the images are well-defined. However, should the lens become opaque or cloudy, (which happens in the case of a cataract), then the images will appear blurry and indistinct.

Because the lens of the eye is located behind the iris, cataracts are not easily seen. Also, since cataracts develop gradually and do not cause any pain, the condition can go undetected for years. This is the reason why yearly eye exams are recommended, especially for those over the age of 45. While cataracts are more prevalent among the older population, there are also cases of pediatric cataracts.

Causes

Cataracts are the result of changes in the protein structure of the eye, which often changes as we age. The lens is composed of transparent proteins that are tightly packed together. However, aging can lead to changes in the precise formation of these proteins, in some cases they clump together, and when this happens the lens become cloudy.

Treatment

Early detection is critical for cataract treatment. Mild forms of the disease can be treated with new prescription eyeglasses. However, in severe cases, cataract extraction surgery may be necessary since new eyeglasses will not improve vision. This procedure is referred to as lens replacement surgery.

If you reside in Florida and need more information on regarding cataracts, or want to know more about your treatment options, then you can contact the Center for Ophthalmology and Laser Surgery. Schedule an eye exam with Dr. Michael Loeffler, a top Lighthouse Point Ophthalmologist (954) 786-5353

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