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Cataracts Diagnosis and Treatment in Nashville, TN

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About Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye's lens that results in reduced vision, and over time, complete blindness if not detected early and treated correctly. For most people, cataracts are an unavoidable part of the aging process and initially develop after the age of 40, the approximate age when the proteins within the lens of the eye typically start to deteriorate and/or lump together. The eye's opacity gradually worsens, which prevents light from hitting the retina correctly. Developing cataracts is quite common — in fact, it's so common that cataract surgery is the most frequently performed procedure done in the country. Close to two million men and women receive cataract surgery a year. The disease can form fairly slowly so individuals in the onset stages typically are unaware of it. Cataracts are a major reason why attending comprehensive eye exams a minimum of every other year is critical to your overall ocular health.

Dr. Ming Wang, Dr. Josh Frenkel, and their skilled staff at Wang Vision Institute are equipped for detecting and treating cataracts in its earliest stages and in supporting our patients in properly controlling advancing symptoms. Reach out to our Nashville, TN facility today to plan a comprehensive exam and find out how we could help you get in control of your cataracts.

Cataracts Explained Symptoms

The typical first symptom of cataracts is increasingly foggy eyesight that isn’t helped by a patient’s current glasses prescription. Many patients start to notice they need brighter light in order to read. Additional sight-related symptoms might include poor night vision, a sudden increase in glare or halos, and vision with a general yellowish tone. Cataracts aren’t painful and generally develop over a period of time before they result in any vision issues. In the majority of people, the condition may begin its onset somewhere between 40 – 50 years of age; however, many patients don’t experience any symptoms prior to reaching their 60s.

Cataracts Explained Causes

A cataract is the result of aging and the natural breakdown of the proteins that make up the lens of the eye. This degradation occurs in all people, but there are additional behavioral and medical issues that might speed up the condition. Lifestyle issues, for example, like smoking cigarettes, excessive drinking, and prolonged exposure to the sun, have been shown to correspond with cataracts, as well as certain medical conditions (including diabetes mellitus and hypertension). Additional factors that can worsen the process include:

  • Degenerative myopia
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Genetics
  • Eye trauma
  • Certain medications, such as steroids

Cataracts Explained Diagnosis

To determine if someone has a cataract, an ophthalmologist or optometrist needs to conduct a comprehensive eye exam. The team at Wang Vision Institute is highly knowledgeable about the tests included in a comprehensive cataract exam. The most common tests to look for cataracts are all very simple, fast, and pain-free.

To start, our ophthalmologist will perform a simple vision test. This is usually done with the familiar eye chart that is used during vision acuity exams. Next, we will often perform a contrast sensitivity test, which is a lot like a vision test, although it checks how easily the patient is able to see a contrast in images. After these tests, a slit-lamp exam is usually done. During a slit-lamp exam, we use an ophthalmic microscope that shines a powerful but particularly narrow "slit" of illumination into the eye to check its outermost structures. To complete the tests, we will conduct the retinal exam and maybe a potential acuity (PAM) exam. Before these tests, enlarging the pupils using special eye drops is necessary. Dilation of the pupils is necessary because it enables the best possible vantage point to examine the complete surface of the lens for any areas of cataract. If cataracts are found, then the potential acuity exam might be done. A PAM gauges a patient’s potential acuity if the cataract wasn't there. The PAM can be very important in choosing an IOL if the patient needs to have surgery.

Cataracts Explained Treatment Options

If Dr. Wang or Dr. Frenkel determine that a patient has cataracts, we will begin to discuss the potential options for treatment. The potential treatments for cataracts are always dependent upon the stage of the disease. In the earliest phases, many patients simply need new prescription glasses or contact lenses. Those whose cataracts have progressed generally require a more involved solution, like laser cataract surgery. Dr. Wang, Dr. Frenkel, and their experienced team are committed to offering every one of our patients the best available care.

Clear Vision After Cataracts

Nashville, TN patients who are experiencing any of the above symptoms or who haven’t undergone a comprehensive eye exam in the last two years need to schedule an appointment with Wang Vision Institute at their earliest convenience. Especially for men and women who are 40 years old or more, receiving comprehensive eye exams no less than every other year is key to catching and managing cataracts and multiple other eye conditions. With an early diagnosis, we can create an individualized plan to help you deal with your condition.

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