I was told I have a cataract. What should I do?
- Posted on: Feb 1 2011
Every day in my ophthalmology practice in Brooklyn I see people who are not clear about the nature of a very common eye condition called cataract. I would like to address this issue, explain what cataract is, and discuss how we treat it and most importantly when to treat it.
To begin with, a cataract is clouding of a lens in the eye. Normally the lens is clear, completely see-through. It helps our eye focus images on the retina. As we age, the cataract becomes cloudy, yellowish, whitish, or in extreme cases, even brown. As that happenes the vision starts to get worse. Here is an image to help you understand cataract a little better:
How can I tell if I am getting a cataract?
Some of the common symptoms of cataracts are : Gradually declining vision, trouble focusing, sensitivity, not being able to see details of images, halos or glare, double vision, colors may become dull. This happens because the light rays entering the eye instead of being focused by the clear lens, are scattered by the now cloudy hardened lens (cataract). Here is an image to help you understand these symptoms:
At what age should I start worrying about it?
Most age-related cataracts start affecting people after 50 years old. Although, cataracts before that age are rare , I have seen patients in their forties or even thirties with fairly dense significant cataracts that require surgery.
Is there anything I can do to prevent cataracts from appearing or from getting worse?
While good genetics helps and while there are no medicines that could help with prevention of cataract, a good rule of thumb is to try to stay healthy and to lead healthy lifestyle. Cataract is simply aging of the lens in the eye, so what is good for your heart is good for your eye as well. So eat plenty of antioxidants, omega-3 (as in vegetables and fish), avoid smoking, exercise, and protect your eyes from the sun, control diabetes well if you have it, and you will be doing your part in prevention of many eye problems.
When is the right time to have cataract surgery?
Well, that’s a very individual question. People who work, are active, drive, read, enjoy arts (colors) in general notice declining vision and declining brightness of colors earlier than people who are less active. The best think to do is establish a good and trustworthy relationship with your New York ophthalmologist early before the cataract becomes significant, so that when the time comes you have a professional you trust on your side.
With warmest regards,
Julia Giyaur, MD
If you are wondering if you may be getting cataract or were recently diagnosed with one and are seeking second opinion for cataract surgery please call us at our New York Eye care locations to schedule your consultation: 718-676-6464
Posted in: Brooklyn Cataracts