Cataract is the leading cause of vision loss across the world, accounting for approximately 42 percent of all cases of blindness. According to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, there are an estimated 25 million people in America alone who have cataracts. This statistic is expected to rise to 38.5 million by 2032 as the baby boomer generation enters their retirement years (one of the largest generations on record).
Cataract awareness month aims to educate people on the symptoms of cataracts, types of cataracts, cataract surgery, how to prevent cataracts and more. A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. Most cataracts develop slowly over the course of several years. The main symptoms are blurry vision or glare, and when they begin to interfere with a person’s daily activities the cloudy lens can be surgically replaced with a clear, artificial lens implant.
Cataracts have many causes however most develop because of injury or advanced age. Genetic disorders, certain medications, and other health problems may also increase your risk.
How to prevent cataracts
While there is no known way to prevent or slow the progression of cataracts, there are several strategies that may help lower your risk, including:
- Get regular eye exams
Regular eye exams can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages. Talk to your doctor to find out how to prevent blindness related to cataracts with regular eye exams. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the best way to find eye diseases in the early stages when treatment to prevent further damage or vision loss is most effective.
- Stop smoking
Smoking increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, glaucoma and other eye health problems. One way to reduce your risk is to stop smoking. Ask your doctor for suggestions and strategies to help you stop smoking.
- Manage other health problems
Certain medical issues and diseases like diabetes can increase your risk of cataracts. Diabetics with unchecked glucose levels can result in an increased amount of sugar levels in the eye’s aqueous humor and lens. Follow your treatment plan as well as your doctor’s instructions to help lower your risk of diabetes-related eye complications like cataracts.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
Filling your plate with a rainbow of colors ensures you’re getting many kinds of vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and leafy green vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which can help you maintain the health of your eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known for reducing the risk of cataract development and progression.
- Wear sunglasses
Much of the cataract-producing damage caused by the sun’s UV rays can be prevented by wearing sunglasses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. Years of exposure to UV rays cause the protein in the lens of the eye to clump and thicken (cataract), preventing light from passing through it.
- Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cataracts by increasing the number of free radicals in your body. These free radicals lead to increased protein in the lens of the eye, which then leads to cataracts. The more you drink, the greater the risk.
What is the treatment for cataracts?
When your vision becomes cloudy or blurry and an eyeglass prescription can’t fix it, the only effective treatment to restore your vision is cataract surgery. Cataract surgeries are typically outpatient procedures, which means you do not need to stay in the hospital afterward. During the surgery your doctor will numb the eye with anesthetic drops, and you will be given IV sedation to relax you. Because of this, general anesthesia is not usually necessary. A microscope with a light on it will be placed in front of your eye and all you will see is this light for the duration of the procedure. You will not feel any pain, nor will you be able to see what is being done. If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes, your doctor will schedule surgery to remove and replace the affected lens in the second eye after the first eye has completely healed from surgery.
Eye Specialists of Louisiana specializes in the following leading-edge treatments:
- Dropless cataract surgery
Dropless cataract surgery is the most advanced technique in surgical eye care today. It consists of a one-time dose of all the medicine the eye needs at the time of the surgery, eliminating the need for weeks of post-surgery eye drops. The medications include antibiotics and slow-release steroids the eye needs to ward off infection and heal properly. This not only saves the patient money, but it also greatly reduces their post-operative burden and eliminates their possibility of accidentally making a mistake with their medication.
- LenSx cataract surgery
Unlike traditional cataract surgery, which is a manual procedure, the LenSx laser uses a beam of light to create the necessary incisions. This helps improve precision and reproducibility as well as lead to better refractive outcomes. LenSx can also be combined with dropless cataract surgery.
- Advanced technology lens implants
Various lens implants can be implanted after the affected (cataractous) lens is removed. Some lens implants have advanced optics that can reduce astigmatism or even eliminate the need for glasses altogether. Eye Specialists of Louisiana offers a wide range of lens implants from different manufacturers and can help you choose the best one for your lifestyle.
If you’d like additional information about how to treat cataracts with leading edge cataract surgery, call Eye Specialists of Louisiana at 225-768-7777. Our team of board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists and licensed opticians are skilled in the performance of advanced treatments like bladeless LASIK surgery, dropless cataract surgery and LenSx cataract surgery.