According to statistics, half of adults will have some form of cataracts by age 75. In the past, blindness was just something that came with age, but modern technology allows doctors to replace the cloudy lens, restoring your vision and even improving it in the process. The best part? You can receive cataract surgery at any point after diagnosis, giving you time to consider your options and prepare for the procedure.
At Harlem VistaSite Eye Care in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Brittni Rodriguez, OD, and Sarah Quan, OD, diagnose cataracts and can walk you through the pros and cons of cataract surgery for you.
Common signs of cataracts
Behind your irises lie the lenses of your eyes, which help focus light into clear images. Those images are projected back onto the retina, where photoreceptors turn them into electrical signals that your optic nerve can pass along to the brain.
Naturally, if the lens of your eye becomes clouded, so will your vision. Common signs of cataracts include:
- Cloudy or blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty reading in low light
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Faded or sepia-toned colors
- Frequent prescription changes
These symptoms can be subtle and easily overlooked, but as your cataracts progress, you will eventually begin to see your eye(s) clouding over.
If you suspect that you might have cataracts, your first visit should be to an ophthalmologist. At Harlem VistaSite Eye Care, our team offers a full panel of tests to diagnose cataracts and other conditions. These include:
- Visual acuity test, or the typical eye chart exam
- Slit-lamp exam, which checks the different parts of the eye
- Retinal exam, in which your eyes are dilated to examine the retina and lens
Visual acuity tests are recommended every few years for young adults, but those over age 40 should get their eyes tested more often, especially if they have a family history of cataracts or glaucoma.
When to consider surgery
The good news about cataracts is that you don’t have to rush to receive treatment. Unlike glaucoma, which causes progressive and permanent damage to the optical nerve, cataracts only affect the lenses of your eyes and can be removed at any time.
Although you shouldn’t postpone surgery for too long, this gives you time to learn more about intraocular lenses, or IOLs. These are the artificial lenses that will replace your natural ones, allowing you to see clearly again.
There are many different kinds of IOLs, including premium lenses that can correct refractive errors and improve your natural vision. However, premium IOLs are an added expense, so it’s important to discuss your options with your surgeon and decide what is best for you.
To learn more about cataract surgery and IOLs, schedule a consultation with the team at Harlem VistaSite by calling 646-453-6506, or visit the contact page for more options.