Everyone is at risk for cataracts, and the risk increases with age. About one in every six Americans over the age of 40 is affected by cataracts, and almost every adult over the age of 70 has some type of clouding in the lens of the eye. Lenses are made of protein and water, and over time, some of the protein begins to clump together to form a clouded area known as a cataract.
Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss in the United States and can go unnoticed until symptoms begin to appear such as blurred vision, sensitivity to light, double vision, difficulty seeing or driving at night, and the muting or fading of colors. Daily activities like reading and driving become increasingly difficult, and quality of life suffers when one cannot be in bright or low lighting without feeling discomfort or uncertainty. The bad news is that younger people are developing cataracts today, and their vision is being adversely affected. The good news is that cataracts are treatable, so early diagnosis means early intervention and customized treatment.
New technology: the HD analyzer
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most common surgeries performed today, and younger people are electing to remove cataracts at an earlier age. New technology such as the HD analyzer is making this possible. The HD analyzer puts a low level laser into the retina and measures the light scatter. Light scatter is caused by several factors, such as corneal disease or cataract formation, which result in lower retinal image quality.
The size and the shape of the light are then assessed to determine aberrations, abnormalities and scattered light. These readings can indicate early signs of cataract development. If cataracts are present, the ophthalmologist can determine the best course of treatment. If surgery is the best option, the deteriorated lens can be replaced with a high-tech intraocular lens (IOL) which can be customized to restore vision, sometimes to 20/20. In certain patients, treating cataracts can be as simple as altering an eyeglass prescription.
Care for your vision
If you are noticing changes in your vision, do not delay in making an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. It is recommended that all adults have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years to maintain optimum eye health.