Eye Conditions: What are Cataracts?
Within your eye is a transparent structure called the lens. It’s an important part of the structure of your eye, as it focuses light on your retina. Suspended behind your iris, the lens changes its shape in order to create clear images based on the distance of the object on which it is focusing.
As you can probably guess, when things go awry with your lens, your vision suffers. Of the conditions that can affect your lens (and, by extension, your vision), cataracts are among the most common. Thousands of people in the St. Petersburg area suffer from cataracts, which are a clouding of your eye’s normally clear lens.
It’s important to catch cataracts early and to treat them as quickly as possible. At Ryczek Eye Associates, cataract treatment is one of the many optometry services we offer to our patients.
If you live in the St. Petersburg, Florida area and you’re concerned about cataracts, our eye doctor can provide diagnosis and treatment. Please call Ryczek Eye Associates today at 727-327-8855 for an exam.
Cataracts Causes and Risk Factors
As noted above, a cataract is essentially just a clouding of your lens. Cataracts can have many causes, but they generally result when age causes your lens to grow more rigid and less flexible. Tissues within the lens break down and clump together, resulting in clouded areas within the lens. When cataracts go untreated, these cloudy areas grow larger, resulting in ever more clouded vision.
Common Cataract Risk Factors
Cataracts are quite common, and tend to have multiple causes. Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Age: Cataracts are age-related issues. Age causes the breakdown of your lens, so, as you grow older, your risk for cataracts also increases.
- Medical conditions: Several unrelated medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, increase your risk of developing cataracts.
- Eye injuries and trauma: A previous eye injury or trauma to the eye also increases your risk of developing cataracts.
- Lifestyle choices: Some lifestyle factors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, also seem to increase your risk of developing cataracts.
As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cataracts. It’s always a good idea to quit smoking and to eat healthy. But the most significant takeaway from this list of risk factors should be the importance of regular eye exams as you age. It’s vital that you undergo frequent eye exams in order to catch cataracts as early as possible.
Cataract Treatment Options
As with most vision problems, early detection is crucial for the treatment of cataracts. If you find yoursef dealing with blurred vision, reduced night vision or sensitivity to light, you might be experiencing the early symptoms of cataracts. You should contact our eye doctor as soon as possible for an examination and diagnosis.
Once cataracts are diagnosed, the proper treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. Early on, most cataracts can be treated through the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses.
In the long term, however, more significant measures might be required. When cataracts get particularly severe, surgery is usually the best option.
Cataract surgery is quite safe and common, so you won’t have to worry about your health or well-being. The goal of cataract surgery is quite simple- the procedure will break up the clouded, clogged tissue of your natural lens, remove the material, then replace the entire structure with a crystal clear artificial lens.
The artificial lens is quite durable and should last you for the rest of your life. Our eye doctor will be happy to answer any questions you might have about cataract surgery and how it will affect your vision.
Cataracts are common, but they can be treated. You don’t have to simply accept them as a consequence of growing older. Diagnosis and treatment can clear your cloudy vision.
If you’re a resident of the St. Petersburg, Florida area and you’re looking for a qualified eye doctor to treat your cataracts or provide you with other high-quality vision correction services, please call Ryczek Eye Associates today at 727-327-8855 or contact us for an exam. We serve patients throughout Pinellas County and surrounding areas, including Tampa Bay.