According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 22 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts. This number is expected to reach 30 million by the year 2020. Cataracts, which usually begin with very few visible symptoms, can lead to blindness if left untreated. Dr. Kerry Solomon, one of the top cataract surgeons in Charleston and the nation, is committed to educating his patients about this condition. In honor of Cataract Awareness Month, Dr. Solomon answers the most frequently asked questions about cataracts.
What Is a Cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens. As you age, proteins in the eye begin to clump together and cloud the lens, making it harder to see. Cataracts are most commonly a result of aging but can also be caused by eye trauma, previous eye surgery or congenital factors.
Who Is at Risk?
Anyone can develop cataracts. However, the following factors can speed their development:
- Overexposure to UV light
- Certain health conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Previous eye injury or trauma
What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
People with cataracts may experience the following symptoms:
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Double vision
- Light sensitivity
- Halos around lights
- Difficulty seeing in the distance
- Night vision problems
- Frequent changes in eyewear prescription
How Are Cataracts Treated?
While the early stages of the disease can be treated with prescription glasses and contact lenses, the cataract-clouded lens will need to be removed at some point. Most ophthalmologists recommend having cataracts removed once vision loss has begun to interfere with daily life. Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States today, and one of the safest. During the procedure, Charleston eye surgeon Dr. Solomon removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to restore clear vision. Many patients also have the option of choosing one of several premium IOLs Dr. Solomon offers, which can help them become less dependent on glasses and contacts.
In addition to traditional cataract surgery, Dr. Solomon is experienced and highly trained in performing laser cataract surgery, which uses a femtosecond laser to replace handheld surgical instruments during critical steps of the cataract removal process. Both procedures are safe and have a high success rate; the doctor can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each with you during a personal consultation and recommend the best option based on your unique case.
If you have recently been diagnosed with cataracts and would like to discuss your treatment options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Solomon. Please contact his Charleston practice by calling (843) 881-3937 or emailing us today.