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Cataracts in Nashville, TN

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What are Cataracts?

Cataracts, by definition, 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 50, 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 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.

Cataract surgeons at Wang Vision Institute are equipped for detecting and treating this condition in the early stages and in supporting patients with advanced symptoms. Reach out to our Nashville, TN, facility today to plan an evaluation and find out how we could help you get in control of your cataracts.

What are the Symptoms of cataracts?

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 around 50 years of age; however, many patients don’t experience any symptoms prior to reaching their 60s.

What Causes cataracts?

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, 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

How do you diagnose cataracts?

A trained ophthalmologist or optometrist can provide a complete definition of cataracts and a list of symptoms during an eye exam. 

To start, our team 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.

What are the risk factors for cataracts?

There are several risk factors that can put our Nashville, TN patients at a higher risk for cataracts. Signs that we look for at Wang Vision Institute include obesity, hypertension, and a history of diabetes. In addition, age and genetics can play a big role in heightening the risk of our patients for cataract disease. If you suspect you might be at risk, or have symptoms of cataracts, contact our office to set up your consultation today.

How do you treat cataracts?

If our team determines that a patient has cataracts, our eye doctors will begin to discuss the potential treatment options. The treatments for cataracts are always dependent upon the stage of the disease. Once cataracts have progressed and are now interfering with vision, cataract surgery may be indicated. Our cataract surgeons are committed to offering every one of our patients the best available care.

Cataract FAQ

Can cataracts go away on their own?
Though their progression may slow down, cataracts will not go away on their own. In many cases, they will continue to progress and cause more vision issues over time. This is why it is important to seek medical attention from a cataract surgeon when you are dealing with this condition.

When should I seek treatment for cataracts?
You should seek treatment for cataracts when they start to interfere with your field of vision. As they continue to progress, your vision can continue to get worse. We recommend contacting our facility at the first onset of cataracts to ensure the best course of treatment.

Can cataracts cause blindness?
If not properly treated, cataracts can continue to affect your vision. This could lead to total blindness. Your vision loss can also be permanent.

How do I know if I have cataracts?
If you notice symptoms like blurry vision, sensitivity to light, or difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, you might have cataracts. However, these symptoms can also indicate other eye problems, so it's crucial to get a comprehensive eye exam by an ophthalmologist for an accurate diagnosis. Cataracts usually progress slowly, but when they start to interfere with your daily activities, it's time to consider treatment options at Wang Vision Institute.

Is there nonsurgical treatment for cataracts?
In the early stages, some cataract symptoms can be managed with prescription glasses or contact lenses to improve vision. However, cataracts are progressive, and there is no effective non-surgical cure to reverse them. When cataracts significantly affect your vision and quality of life, cataract surgery is the most reliable and common treatment option.

What are the early signs of cataracts?
Early symptoms of cataracts include blurry or hazy vision and increased sensitivity to light. You might also experience difficulty seeing at night and find that colors appear less vibrant. If you notice these symptoms, consult an eye specialist at Wang Vision Institute immediately.

Clear Vision After Cataracts

Are you unsure how to define cataracts? Do you have blurry or cloudy vision? Nashville, TN patients who are experiencing any of the above symptoms should schedule a cataract evaluation at Wang Vision Institute at their earliest convenience. With an early diagnosis, we can create an individualized plan to help you deal with your condition.

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