More than 22 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts, an eye disease characterized by the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. This number is expected to increase to 30 million by the year 2020.
Early stages of cataracts start with very few visible symptoms. But if left untreated, the damage caused by cataracts can eventually lead to blindness. At Metrolina Eye Associates, our team of ophthalmologists is committed to educating our patients on the importance of early cataract detection and treatment. In honor of Cataract Awareness Month, we share important information on cataracts, including risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.
The eye’s natural lens (located in the cornea) is responsible for focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. It is made up of water and protein, mostly. Over time, strands of protein clump together, clouding the natural lens and making it harder to see. People with cataracts may experience the following symptoms:
- Blurry or fuzzy vision
- Difficulty seeing in the distance
- Halos around lights
- Night vision problems
- Double vision
- Frequent changes in eyewear prescription
As you age, your risk of developing cataracts increases. Other risk factors include:
- Family history of cataracts
- Previous eye surgery
- Eye trauma
- Eye inflammation
- Certain health conditions such as diabetes
- Overexposure to UV light
Cataract Removal: Traditional and Laser Surgery
Early stages of cataracts can be treated with prescription glasses and contact lenses. However, when the vision loss caused by the cataract becomes so severe that it interferes with daily life, surgery is necessary. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can be performed in a matter of minutes. In addition to traditional cataract surgery, Metrolina Eye Associates is proud to offer laser cataract surgery for more precise cataract removal. During both procedures, the natural lens that holds the cataract is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to restore clear vision. Patients can choose one of several premium IOLs to match their unique specifications and lifestyle.
Non-Invasive Floater Removal with Ellex Laser Surgery
In addition to offering advanced laser cataract surgery, Metrolina Eye Associates is proud to offer patients the latest in eye floater removal. Floaters are tiny spots and specks that appear in our field of vision from time to time. Although they are typically harmless, floaters can become bothersome or too numerous to ignore. In these cases, Metrolina Eye Associates can treat floaters with the Ellex Laser Floater Procedure, a minimally invasive and virtually painless procedure. This innovative treatment is an alternative to vitrectomy, which has traditionally been used to remove floaters but has a high risk of bleeding, infection and other complications. With the Ellex Laser Floater Procedure, laser light is focused onto the eye to break up and vaporize large floaters, improving the field of vision.
To learn more about our innovative procedures and eye care options, please contact Metrolina Eye Associates today.