Cataracts. They usually come with age, and there is no surefire way to know who will or won’t develop cataracts. The exact cause of cataracts is unclear. That’s especially true in cases of early cataracts. Most often, cataracts affect patients age 60 and older; however, there have been cases of cataracts reported in younger people as well.
Important cataracts fact: Cataracts affect over 24.4 million American age 40 and older, or about one in every six people in this age range. By age 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts. It is the leading cause of blindness (Prevent Blindness America).
A cataract is a degenerative eye disorder that causes the clouding of the lens, leading to decreased vision.
“I stumble through a darkened vale, with a veil cast over me.
And cataracts, all is black. Oh, I see, but I can’t see…” (Thrice, 2011)
Among younger patients, the first signs of a cataract problem are increased difficulty seeing clearly at night or seeing colors as bold as intended; general sensitivity to light and glare; and hazy or clouded vision. Fact is, there are three common types of cataracts:
- Subcapsular, which occurs at the back of the lens
- Nuclear, which forms deep in the central zone, or nucleus, of the lens
- Cortical, which wedges its way in the periphery of the lens, eventually migrating to the center in a spoke-like fashion
Furthermore, modern medicine is not yet able to prevent cataracts from forming. Without intervention from San Jose cataracts specialists at Eye Medical Clinic, sight problems can become more progressive and can lead to significant vision loss—even blindness.
Causes of Early Cataracts
No one knows for sure why the eye’s lens changes as we age, but researchers have identified factors that may cause cataracts. Although early cataracts in young people are not the most common, it’s important to know the potential causes:
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- Oxidative changes in the lens due to poor diet
- Traumatic injury to the eye
- Use of steroidal medications
- Ultraviolet light exposure
According to the National Eye Institute, other causes of cataracts are labeled as secondary, traumatic, congenital and radiation-related.
A recent scientific theory about early cataracts claims the prolonged use of computers, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices may be advancing the development of vision problems, including cataracts, at earlier ages.
Reducing Risk and Cataract Treatment
As stated above, scientists propose that oxidative changes in the human lens cause cataract formation. Nutrition studies support this idea, citing that fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants may reduce the risk of certain types of cataracts. Consider a higher daily dietary intake of these foods: Vitamin E found in a wide variety of nuts and seeds; dark green, leafy vegetables and colorful fruits (think broccoli, spinach, berries); antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene; and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as fish.
As far as treatment goes, cataracts must be surgically removed to restore vision. Cataract surgery is one of the most routine corrective eye surgeries performed in the United States with more than 3.6 million procedures each year (Review of Ophthalmology).
In short, blade-free is the only way to go in removing a cataract. Eye Medical Clinic is pleased to offer the latest technologies including Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery—a safe procedure in which your eye’s clouded lens is gently removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens implant. The lens stays in your eye permanently. You won’t be able to feel the new lens, and it is not visible. The in-office procedure takes a few minutes and is virtually painless. The majority of patients report great success in restoring vision to 20/20.
Seeing at the Next Level
Eye Medical Clinic also offers a variety of Premium Lens Implants that can remove your cataracts and allow the opportunity to be free from glasses or bifocals, too. Specifically, Multifocal Lenses aim to improve distance and near focus, while Toric Lenses correct astigmatism.
Our very own Dr. Mona Bagga is a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmologist who has completed more than 10,000 successful cataract surgeries. To find out more about cataracts and how we treat them, schedule an initial screening today with Eye Medical Clinic, San Jose cataracts specialists. We thank you and your eyes will thank you.