What is a Cataract?

Have you noticed your vision slowly worsening over the last few years? Have you needed to update your glasses prescription more than usual recently?

Although you may think it’s just part of getting older and aging, these are some signs of having cataracts. Cataracts form in the natural lens of your eye. Over time, they begin to block light from reaching your retina.

They are common and treatable but remain mysterious to some. Keep reading to find out what a cataract is!

What is a Cataract?

If you have a cataract, it develops on the natural lens of your eye. Your lens sits behind your cornea and helps the cornea focus light onto your retina.

The lens is a vital part of your eyesight. Cataracts develop as proteins in your natural lenses break down and begin to clump together.

It takes a long time for this to occur, but eventually, it causes your lens to become milky white. When cataracts get thick enough, they block light from reaching your retina.

At this point, they can interfere with your daily life. Once you reach this point, it’s time to consider cataract surgery. Your eye doctor can diagnose cataracts and will discuss removing them when the time is right.

What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is the only way to get rid of cataracts. Because cataracts are so common, cataract surgery is the most common medical procedure in the country.

It is effective at removing cataracts and restoring your vision. Depending on the IOL you choose before having cataract surgery, you may be able to see better than you did before having cataracts. 

Before cataract surgery begins, your cataract surgeon will put numbing drops in your eyes. Once the drops take effect, your surgeon begins the procedure by creating a small incision in your cornea. 

After accessing the lens, your cataract surgeon will use an ultrasound device to break the lens and the cataract into smaller pieces. Doing this makes your natural lens easier to remove.

After they take your cataract-afflicted lens out, they replace it with something called an intraocular lens or IOL. IOLs handle the responsibilities that your natural lens used to do for you.

They focus light on your retina and give you clear eyesight again. Removing your natural lens during cataract surgery is the only way to treat cataracts because they develop inside your lens.

They do not form outside your lens but instead become a part of it. If you want clear eyesight again after you have developed cataracts, you need to remove and replace your natural lens.

What is Recovery From Cataract Surgery Like?

After having cataract surgery, the next step is to recover. On the first day, you’ll need someone to drive you home, as you won’t be allowed to operate a moving vehicle. 

Your eye doctor will let you know when they clear you to drive again. Although your vision may feel unstable, this will go away after a few days. 

You’ll also need to attend a follow-up appointment with your eye doctor to ensure that there are no complications and that you’re healing as you should. During the healing process, you’ll notice that your vision continues to improve. 

You will be able to do most of your everyday activities after having cataract surgery, but make sure to discuss your limitations with your eye doctor.

Do you think it’s time to consider having cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Arizona in Glendale, AZ, to see if you’re ready for cataract surgery!

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