What Is A Cataract?
The natural lens of the eye bends (refracts) light as it enters into the eye. The lens is made up of mostly water and protein and should be clear. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s internal lens and is caused by the protein in the lens clumping together. As a cataract develops, the lens becomes more and more cloudy; as a result, it looks like you are looking through a dirty or dusty car windshield. If a cataract is left undiagnosed, total vision loss may occur.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, cataracts affect 2.4 million Americans over the age of 40 and by age 75, half of Americans have developed a cataract. In addition, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world.
There are many reasons a cataract may develop; the most common is due to the aging process. Many patients discover they have a cataract when they go in for an eye exam after noticing their vision is no longer sharp and it feels like they need a stronger glasses prescription. Many also discover they have a cataract when they have trouble seeing at night, especially while driving.
What Are the Symptoms of a Cataract?
There are many symptoms of a cataract, including:
- Cloudy, fuzzy, foggy vision
- Difficulty driving, especially at night
- Trouble up close, such as reading your phone or doing needlepoint
- Problems seeing things farther away, such as the television
- Bothersome glare around objects
- Colors that seem dull, faded, or not as bright
- Noticing frequent changes in your vision and feeling like you need a stronger glasses’ prescription
- Haloes around lights
- A milky white spot or cloudy spot visually apparent in the center of the eye
How Is A Cataract Diagnosed?
Most people learn they have a cataract through an eye exam. During the eye exam, your doctor will perform a series of tests to help him or her determine the health of your eye. These include a visual acuity test, a dilated eye exam, and a tonometry.
The visual acuity test uses the eye chart to measure how well you see at various distances. A dilated eye exam is when drops are placed inside your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupil. Your eye doctor uses a special magnifying lens to examine the retina and optic nerve for signs of damage or other problems. If you don’t like getting your eyes dilated, Louisiana Eye & Laser now offers the Optomap® for retinal imaging. This advanced technology digitally scans the retina. This is a non-invasive test (no drops required) and the images only take seconds to capture. Your eye doctor can quickly review the scans and determine if any problems need to be addressed. A tonometry is an instrument that measures the pressure in the eye. This also helps diagnose glaucoma.
How Are Cataracts Removed?
In order to treat a cataract, it must be removed. Cataract removal in Alexandria, LA, is one of the safest and most effective procedures performed in modern medicine. It is a life-changing procedure that will improve your ability to do the things you enjoy and, in many cases, allow you to do things you couldn’t do before. Advancements in surgical technology and techniques, including premium intraocular lens implants and laser cataract surgery, allow the surgeons at Louisiana Eye & Laser to provide a more pleasant and virtually pain-free procedure. Cataract surgery itself is considered medically necessary to restore vision and is thus covered by medical insurance, including Medicare. However, not all cataract surgery options are covered and are considered elective. These options will incur some out-of-pocket expense to patients.
Schedule An Appointment Today
Have you been experiencing any of the symptoms of cataracts? Have you been diagnosed with a cataract and looking for cataract removal in Alexandria? If so, schedule an appointment today at one of our 14 locations throughout Central Louisiana. We offer Saturday appoints at our Alexandria, Pineville, and Villa Platte locations.