What Are Cataracts

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a normal occurrence in an aging eye: your transparent eye lens begins to cloud over with the gradual build-up of naturally-occurring proteins in the eye. Instead of allowing light to enter properly, the cloudy lens creates a “foggy” appearance to everything you see.

This process does not happen overnight. It is typically a slow development that makes it increasingly difficult to see things clearly and perform daily tasks.

Symptoms of Cataracts

While cataracts are typically associated with aging, they can also occur due to disease, injury, birth defect or certain medications. Symptoms can include:

  • Hazy/blurry/cloudy vision
  • Glare and starbursts with night driving
  • Dull appearance of colors
  • Vision takes on a yellowish/brownish tint
  • Eye sensitivity to bright light

Types of Cataracts

You can have a cataract in one or both eyes. The location of your cataract will affect what type of vision disturbance you have.

    • Nuclear cataract: occurs in the center of the lens, often creating temporary near vision improvement
    • Cortical cataract: occurs around the edges of the lens, often resulting in “spoke-like” opacities that move to the center of the lens
    • Subcapsular cataract: occurs at the back of the lens, often masking symptoms until the later stages.

Cataract Evaluation

A cataract evaluation at Arizona Eye Specialists involves several pain-free tests to determine your eye health. These cataract tests are very important to identify the presence, severity and location of any cataracts that may be affecting your vision.

Cataract Tests

  • Visual acuity test to assess your distance and near vision
  • Refractive error measurement to determine your glasses prescription
  • Assessment of your lenses to determine the presence of any cataracts
  • Evaluation of your retinal health (back of the eye)
  • Eye pressure measurement to determine the presence of glaucoma
  • Review of your overall health

Depending on the outcome of these initial tests, your cataract specialist may request additional tests if other eye issues are suspected.

The retinal examination requires that your eyes be dilated. Dilation is necessary for a complete examination of the retina. Your pupils will require up to 30 minutes to dilate. Since your pupils may remain dilated for a full day after your visit, we recommend that you bring sunglasses to reduce your sensitivity to light. Your ability to read will be temporarily decreased. We also recommend you have someone available to drive you home.

Get Your Cataract Questions Answered

We view the cataract evaluation as a two-way communication street: we will ask you questions about how your vision is interfering with your daily activities and we encourage you to ask any question you have about your condition and your treatment options. At Arizona Eye Specialists we are committed to providing you with as much education as possible so you will be comfortable with your own informed decision about how to care for your eye health.

Cataract Treatment 

While there is no “cure” for cataracts, cataract surgery is a very common and effective procedure to restore clear vision. It is possible, and sometimes even recommended, that you live with cataracts for years before undergoing surgery if they are not affecting your daily life. At Arizona Eye Specialists, we perform exams to assess your cataract development and recommend cataract surgery only when necessary.

Contact us today to schedule a cataract evaluation at one of our valley locations and learn more about your options for vision improvement.

Call 480-994-5012 or click here.