The eye's natural crystalline lens is the clear part of the eye that helps focus incoming light rays on the retina to form an image, which is then transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve. The crystalline lens is made primarily of water and protein, allowing the structure to change shape to focus on near and distant objects.
A cataract is a painless clouding of the eye's natural lens. Since a cataract affects the clarity of the lens, it prohibits the light from passing through the lens easily. This causes the retina to receive blurred or distorted images. Because the brain cannot receive clear images of objects, vision gradually becomes impaired. As a cataract progresses, the possibility of cataract eye surgery should be strongly considered. As a cataract, if left untreated, could lead to blindness. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. Cataracts affect nearly 20.5 million Americans over age 40.
Many people believe cataracts have to be "ripe" before they can be removed. This is no longer true. Today, cataract surgery is a routine procedure that can be performed as soon as your vision interferes with the quality of your life.
Over time, the clouded areas of your lens can become larger and more dense, causing your sight to become worse. This could take anywhere from a few months to many years. Eventually your lens can cloud over and cause blindness.
Once a cataract has been removed it cannot return. However, over time, patients may complain that their vision has become cloudy again. This condition is known as a secondary cataract. It can easily and rapidly be treated by a simple laser procedure performed in our office.
Patients who opt for cataract surgery are often excited about the clear vision they experience after the procedure. The new lens that is inserted into a patient's eye during the procedure can be adjusted for distance so that glasses are often not required to pass a driving test!
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