What are Cataracts? banner

What are Cataracts?

Diagram of what an eye with and without cataracts

A cataract is the “clouding” of the natural lens of your eye that distorts your vision. As we go through life, everybody gets gray hair, wrinkles and cataracts.

Your natural eye lens is comprised of water and protein. When this lens is clear, light can pass through to the retina (the back of the eye) to produce sharp images. However, as age causes the proteins to begin to clump in the lens, the light passing through the lens will become scattered, preventing sharp images.

This protein clumping is the cataract, and it is a natural occurrence for all people. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes. They typically start mild and gradually grow cloudier, blurring more of your vision as you age. Much like your car windshield gradually becoming dirtier and harder to see through. Cataracts change the way light is focused by the natural lens and often make vision more nearsighted. This is why some people find they can now read without glasses – the “second sight” your grandmother may have spoken of. Unfortunately, what you gain for near vision, you lose for distance vision.

Cataract Symptoms

  • Cloudy, blurry vision which may be more noticeable in certain lighting conditions
  • Colors appear dull, faded or more amber
  • Lamps, headlights or streetlights may have glare or halos
  • Sunlight or fluorescent lights may appear too bright
  • Poor night vision
  • Double or multiple vision in one eye
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses

Because the symptoms can be so slight in the initial stages of cataracts, you may have the early onset of cataracts without even knowing it. As the cataract continues to grow, your ability to perform everyday tasks such as reading and driving will become increasingly more difficult. This change is often so subtle people often think they still see fine but may not see good enough to pass the driver’s license test. We have nothing to do with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), but we can tell you if you may have trouble passing their vision test.

The symptoms caused by cataracts can also be caused by other serious problems in the eye. The only way to determine what is causing a problem with your vision is to have your eyes examined. Call us, we would love to help you with your vision.

Who Gets Cataracts?

Although they can be present in children at birth (congenital cataracts), age-related cataracts are more common. They can begin to develop after age 40, but you may not notice the impact on your vision until you are older. Everybody gets cataracts, just like wrinkles and gray hair. It has been that way since Genesis 3:6. While we all have these time related changes, we are not all affected by them to the same degree.

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A Few Facts About Cataracts

  • There are no proven methods to prevent cataracts.
  • No one knows for sure why the aging process causes cataracts to develop.
  • Cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans age 40 and older.
  • By age 80, more than half of all people in the United States will have a visually significant cataract or will have already had cataract surgery.
  • Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.
  • Cataract surgery is the only way to restore clear vision.
  • More than 3 million Americans have cataract surgery each year.

Dr. Stephen Johnson has been performing cataract surgery since 1977. He has been taking care of people’s eyes in Newport Beach since 1981. He has a long list of thousands of satisfied patients who have benefitted from his years of experience and warm, caring chair-side manner.

The best way to be proactive about your eye health is by having regular eye exams to detect conditions like cataracts, glaucoma and other ‘silent’ vision-stealing conditions. If you are experiencing changes in your vision, don’t put your eye health on the back-burner. Please call 949-760-9007 or Schedule an eye exam or Cataract Consultation today to determine the cause and learn about your treatment options.

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1441 Avocado Ave. Suite 206
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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