Cataracts are a part of the natural aging process in the eye and are very common. At Eye Consultants of Northern Virginia in Springfield, Virginia, our eye doctors have the expertise and experience needed to restore your vision diminished by cataracts.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a natural part of aging in the eye where the eye’s lens becomes cloudy and hardened. The lens inside your eye is responsible for bending the light that enters your eye so that it can fall directly onto the light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye.
This layer of cells is called the retina. In order for you to have crisp and clear vision, the light has to land directly on the retina.
As you age, the lens in your eye becomes cloudy and less flexible. When this happens, your hardened lens is unable to focus the light correctly.
In addition, the cloudiness of the lens prevents some of the light from reaching the retina. Cataracts tend to form gradually over time.
Most people begin to have changes in their lenses around age forty. The only way to restore vision loss from cataracts is through cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is a very common and relatively simple procedure. It is likely that when you are first diagnosed with cataracts, you will not need surgery right away.
Your eye doctor will continue to monitor your eyes and the growth of your cataracts. Once the symptoms begin to greatly interfere with your day-to-day life, cataracts may be advanced enough to warrant surgery.
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Although symptoms may vary from person to person, there are a few symptoms that are very common. Since cataracts develop gradually, many people may not notice any changes in their vision until the cataracts have advanced.
In some cases, people may notice changes in their vision right away. Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts are:
- Blurry vision
- Colors appearing dull or less bright
- Experiencing glare, halos, or starbursts around lights
- Objects appearing doubled
- Difficulty reading or doing other tasks that require the use of your near vision
- Difficulty seeing in dim lighting
The primary symptom most people notice from cataracts is blurry vision. Although, in most cases, these symptoms tend to worsen gradually as your cataracts advance, eventually, they will be able to interfere significantly with your ability to accomplish day-to-day tasks.
Your eye doctor will likely recommend cataract surgery once you are unable to safely or efficiently perform normal tasks due to decreased vision from cataracts.
How Do Eye Doctors Treat Cataracts?
In the beginning stages of cataract development, you may be able to mitigate symptoms caused by cataracts by using either prescription glasses or over-the-counter readers. However, the only way to fully restore vision and eradicate cataract symptoms such as glare is through cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is a reasonably quick procedure where your eye doctor removes your cloudy lens and replaces it with a new artificial lens. This new artificial lens is called an intraocular lens or an IOL.
First, your eye doctor will numb the surface of your eye, also known as the cornea, with drops. Next, they will make a tiny incision in your cornea.
After breaking up your natural lens into small pieces with a unique laser called a femtosecond laser, they will remove these pieces and insert an IOL in place. Once the new artificial lens is in place, the surgery is complete, and the incision on your cornea will heal naturally.
Prior to cataract surgery, your eye doctor will help you choose which lens will best accomplish your vision goals. There are many different IOL options at varying price points.
Certain IOL options may allow you to reduce your dependence on visual aids such as glasses or contact lenses after the procedure. To determine which lens will best fit you, discuss your options with your eye doctor at Eye Consultants of Northern Virginia.
What Kind of Lenses Do The Eye Doctors at Eye Consultants of Northern Virginia Offer?
At Eye Consultants of Northern Virginia, our cataract surgeons offer a variety of IOLs to match your financial and vision goals. IOLs can restore vision loss from cataracts and can correct for natural refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Monofocal lenses are also often referred to as standard lenses. Most of the time, standard monofocals lenses are covered under insurance.
Monofocal lenses provide for clear vision at one focus range, whether that be distance, intermediate, or near vision. Since these lenses are set for one range of vision, you will need to wear glasses for crisp vision at the other focus ranges if you choose a monofocal lens.
Toric lenses are IOLs that are specifically designed to correct astigmatism. Those with astigmatism have a cornea that is less round than a normal cornea.
A cornea with astigmatism has an irregular shape and can affect your vision. For those with a certain amount of astigmatism, eye doctors will likely recommend a toric lens to correct your vision fully.
Multifocal IOLs are premium lenses that can correct your vision at multiple distances. Although often more expensive, premium multifocal lenses can often significantly reduce your reliance on visual aids after the procedure, such as glasses and contact lenses.
There are a variety of multifocal IOLs available to accomplish assorted visual goals. The Alcon PanOptix IOL is a trifocal IOL that is the first and only trifocal IOL in the United States.
The PanOptix IOL allows you to experience brighter colors, less blurry zones, and reduced glare while improving your distance, intermediate, and near vision.
Extended Depth of Focus
An extended depth of focus lens, also known as an EDOF lens, creates a single elongated focal point instead of multiple different ones, such as in a multifocal lens. If you choose an extended depth of focus lens, such as the Alcon Acrysof IQ Vivity lens, you can expect to experience excellent distance and intermediate vision, as well as improved near vision.
The Vivity IOL’s X-WAVE technology allows you to experience quality vision in both dim and bright lighting. In addition, Vivity offers protection against UV rays which can be damaging to your eyes.
Thanks to Vivity’s non-diffractive technology, you can also expect to experience fewer visual disturbances like glare and halos around lights.
ARE YOU EXPERIENCING CATARACTS?
The best way to determine which lens may best fit your vision goals is to visit your eye doctor for a cataract evaluation.
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Are you experiencing symptoms of cataracts that are affecting your day-to-day life? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Eye Consultants of Northern Virginia in Springfield or Woodbridge, VA, today!