Cataracts are a part of the aging process, but they do not have to interfere with your lifestyle. A cataract is a cloudiness of the crystalline lens inside your eye. As your lens gets cloudier, your vision will gradually become more blurred. The human eye may best be compared to a camera. When you take a picture, the lens in the front of the camera allows light through and focuses that light on the film. When the light hits the film, a picture is taken. The eye works in much the same way. The lens of your eye is clear, and allows light to pass through. Light is focused by your cornea and lens onto a thin layer of tissue, called the retina. Your retina works like the film in a camera. When the focused light hits the retina, a picture is taken, and sent to your brain. While a dirty camera lens blurs a picture, any significant cataract in your lens will blur what you see.
If a cataract grows large enough to impair your vision, and affect your daily activities, cataract removal is recommended. Cataract removal is a common procedure and is safely performed millions of times each year. During the procedure, the cataract surgeon removes the clouded lens that has affected your vision and replaces it with a clear, artificial, intraocular lens. As a result, most patients can achieve a noticeable improvement in their vision. Cataract surgery used to require a fairly large incision in the eye, and the use of sutures to close that incision. Today, technological advances allow surgeons to work through an incision much smaller than in the past, usually requiring no sutures at all. Small incision cataract surgery, is made possible by using high-frequency sound waves known as ultrasound, or phacoemulsification. The sound waves break a cataract up into tiny fragments, that can then be removed through the small incision. The other advance that makes small incision cataract surgery possible, is the foldable intraocular lens implant. These implants are made of soft materials, which can be folded like a taco, or rolled-up with a special instrument, allowing them to fit through very small incisions. Once inside the eye, these lenses unfold and return to their original shape. Small incision cataract surgery is less invasive, allows patients to resume normal activities soon after surgery, and provides the fastest recovery of vision.
Cataract Type – Posterior Subcapsular
A posterior subcapsular cataract is an opaque area that forms at the back of the lens and can lead to a gradual decrease in vision. An early posterior subcapsular cataract may not cause any symptoms. However, this type of cataract can grow more rapidly than other types of cataracts, and can sometimes cause a significant decrease in vision in a matter of months. As the cataract grows, it causes light entering the eye to scatter, increasing the severity of symptoms. It can make it difficult to see in bright light or while reading, and cause glare and halos around lights at night. When posterior subcapsular cataracts cause enough of a decrease in vision that you have difficulty doing daily activities like reading, watching TV, or driving, cataract surgery may help. If you have cataracts, your eye care professional can help you decide whether cataract surgery is right for you.