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Obscured By Cataracts

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If your most recent visit to the eye doctor resulted in the diagnosis of cataracts, don't get worried. Cataracts are a surprisingly common problem, particularly if you fall into into certain categories, and doctors have been safely removing them for many, many years. Knowing what's ahead is important, so read on to learn more about cataracts and how to get the problem alleviated.

How do you know you might have a cataract? Nighttime glare from approaching headlights are often the first tell-tale sign that you have a problem. Sometimes the symptoms, such as blurred vision, are so subtle and come on so gradually that you may never even realize that you have a cataract until you get your vision checked.

What is a cataract? The clear outer layer of your eye is called the lens, and this is where a cataract lives and grows. A build up of protein causes the lens to become cloudy over time, which can gradually obscure your vision. Sometimes your eye doctor will advise you to wait until the cataract becomes worse before removing it.

What causes cataracts? Most people acquire a cataract as a side effect of aging, but even younger people who smoke or who've spent a lot of time exposed to the sun can be affected by this lens clouding disorder. Other common causes of cataracts include using alcohol to excess and the use of corticosteroids.

How are cataracts removed? Most people are understandably squeamish about having a procedure done on their eyes, but the common surgery to remove a cataract is relatively quick and painless. Depending on your doctor's preferences (and yours), numbing drops allow the removal of the old lens and takes mere minutes to preform. In some cases, a little something to relax you will be provided by an anesthesiologist, which will decrease any anxiety and make the process even less traumatic.

During the procedure, your old, cloudy and brittle lens is completely removed and a new lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted. There are several choices when it comes to your IOL.

1. The standard, or basic lens allows an immediate change for the better. Many cataract patients notice a change in brightness, clarity and color perception as soon as the day following surgery.

2. The toric lens allows people with an astigmatism to gain improvement in vision, which can mean saying goodbye to glasses or contacts.

3. The multi-focal lens can correct both near and far vision.

4. The accomodative lens flexes with eye movement and corrects both near and far vision.

Recovery is usually quick, and often you can return to normal activities within a day or two. Don't live with cloudy vision, speak with an eye doctor, such as at Leader Heights Eye Center, about having your cataracts removed as soon as possible.