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Cataracts 101: What They Are and What to Do About Them

Cataracts affect more than 24 million Americans over 40 and half of all Americans by age 75. These cloudy eye lenses severely impact your vision and quality of life. The condition affects your eyesight gradually, but it may eventually lead to loss of vision.

At Valley Eye Professionals, we can diagnose early cataracts and help slow their progression. Quality treatment from the optometrists at our office in the Studio City area of Los Angeles prevents distorted vision and helps you avoid, or corrects, vision loss.

Read on to learn more about cataracts and what you can do if you’ve been diagnosed with them.

Cataracts and their visual effects

Your eye’s lens is essential in healthy eyesight. The lens is the clear part of the eye that’s responsible for focusing light. When your eyes are healthy, light passes through the lens to your retina. The retina transmits this light to the brain as nerve impulses to form images.

The clarity of your lens is critical to the clarity and sharpness of your vision. Cataracts cloud the lens when proteins in your eye start to break down — usually as a result of the aging process — and clump together. These clumps cloud up the lens and distort your vision.

It’s not always noticeable at first, but with progression of the cataract, you experience blurry, hazy, and less colorful vision. Far-away objects appear fuzzy and unfocused. You squint often to bring objects into focus. The cloudy lens makes colors less vibrant and clear. You may experience double vision and poor night vision — you’re extra sensitive to glare. 

If left untreated, cataracts may eventually lead to complete vision loss. 

Preventing cataracts

You can protect your eyes and prevent or delay cataract development by taking several steps. Guard your eyes from the sun’s rays with sunglasses and a hat with a brim, quit smoking, and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables of the dark green variety.

You also benefit immensely from a regular dilated eye exam, especially if you’re 60 or older, once every two years. The staff at Valley Eye Professionals is happy to schedule that for you. 

Delaying surgery for cataracts

Cataracts usually occur due to the natural, normal aging process. But if you develop cataracts, the only treatment when they become unbearable is surgery. 

However, you can delay the need for surgery by using brighter lights at home and at work, wearing anti-glare sunglasses, and using a magnifying glass for reading. A new prescription for glasses or contact lenses can also help you see better even with cataracts in their early stages.

If you suspect you’re developing cataracts or are at risk for them due to age or genetics, make sure you come to Valley Eye Professionals for regular eye exams and dilation. If you do have cataracts, we can help you delay surgery as long as possible and perform the right procedure when cataracts get in the way of your daily activities and enjoyment of life.

Call the office, or schedule your appointment online to discuss evaluation and treatment options. 

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