Your Vision after Cataracts

A cataract develops when proteins accumulate in the lens of the eye, clouding the naturally clear tissue. Cataracts are the most common cause of age-related vision loss in the United States. If you have noticed that your vision worsens at night or has become blurry, you may be developing a cataract. Dr. Stephen Godlewski provides a full range of treatment to restore patients' eyesight at his Snellville, GA, practice, from corrective lenses to cataract surgery. Regardless of your needs, he can restore your vision and quality of life.

A cataract forms when proteins clump together in the eye's lens. This can lead to blurred, cloudy vision.

A Common Age-Related Concern

The lens inside the eye is very similar to a camera lens. It works by focusing light onto the retina, adjusting the eye’s focus to maintain clear vision. The eyes' lenses are mainly made of water and protein. As we age, some of the protein can start to clump together and cloud the lens. When this happens, it is called a cataract.

There are three types of cataracts that can affect your vision:

  • Subcapsular cataract: Subcapsular cataracts occurs at the back of the lens. Individuals with diabetes and patients taking high doses of steroid medications are at a higher risk for this type of cataract. 

  • Nuclear cataract: Usually associated with aging, this type forms deep in the central portion of the lens, also known as the nucleus. 

  • Cortical cataract: This type is characterized by white, wedge-like opacities. These cataracts first form in the periphery of the lens and work their way to the center. 

Cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans over the age of 40 and can lead to significant vision loss and limited quality of life.

Causes of Cataracts

While age is one of the most common reasons cataracts develop, researchers have identified other factors that may increase your risk:

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight and other sources

  • Diabetes

  • Hypertension

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications

  • Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol

  • Previous eye injury or inflammation

  • Previous eye surgery

  • Hormone replacement therapy

  • Significant alcohol consumption

  • Severe myopia (nearsightedness)

  • Family history

Ongoing research is also being conducted in the area of preventing cataracts. One theory is that cataracts are formed by oxidative changes in the lens, meaning fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants may lessen your risk. Another step you can take is to wear protective sunglasses to block UV rays when you are outdoors. 

Signs and Symptoms

In its early stages, a cataract has little effect on your vision. You may notice slight blurring, as if you are viewing the world through a cloudy piece of glass. A cataract can also make light from the sun or a lamp seem suddenly too bright or glaring. Sometimes colors will seem less vibrant than before. 

Laser-assisted surgery has an extremely high success rate for restoring cataract patients' vision.

Your symptoms are directly related to what type of cataract you have. A nuclear cataract may temporarily improve your vision when it first forms. On the other hand, if you have a subcapsular cataract, you may not experience any symptoms until it is well-developed. It is important to schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor, especially if you are over 40 or have any major risk factors. 

Your Treatment Options

Your treatment will depend on the stage and type of your cataract. In early stages, corrective lenses, such as strong bifocals, can provide you with improved vision. As the disease progresses, Dr. Godlewski may recommend cataract surgery, a simple and relatively painless procedure.

Laser-assisted surgery is often very successful in restoring vision affected by cataracts. During the procedure, your surgeon will replace your clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Nine out of 10 patients who have undergone cataract surgery experienced improved vision after the procedure, typically achieving between 20/20 and 20/40 eyesight.

Restore Your Vision

If you believe you have a cataract, there are treatment options available to you. Contact our team online or call (770) 979-1144 today to schedule an eye exam and learn more.