primary eye care

Are Cataracts Permanent?

February 22nd, 2021

A woman holding a drink and looking out the window

Did you know that cataracts are the number one cause of blindness worldwide? It estimated that over 17% of Americans alone have cataracts.

It is no wonder that people have concerns about losing their vision permanently because of cataracts. The good news is that thanks to cataract surgery, they are pretty simple to treat.

Having cataract surgery is also one of the safest surgeries you can have. It can’t be a coincidence that it’s also performed so often all over the world! Keep reading to learn more about cataracts!

The Basics of Cataracts and Cataract Surgery

Cataracts affect the lens of the eye, located behind the pupil. The lens serves an important function for vision. It further focuses light that passes through the cornea and pupil.

This allows light to land on the retina correctly. To achieve this purpose, the lens needs to remain translucent, or light is unable to pass through.

When Proteins Become a Cataract

With age, the composition of the lens may begin to break down. This causes the proteins that normally align, allowing light to come through to clump together.

When proteins clump together, it becomes harder and harder to see. This clump of proteins is what a cataract is.

When the proteins clump together, they first form in a way that’s still able to let some light through. It’s also so small that vision loss is barely noticeable if noticed at all.

But over time, these proteins will get darker and grow larger. They eventually become a cataract and block a significant amount of light from being able to enter the eye.

For most people, this leads to partial or total vision loss or even blindness. But, the good news?

If you have cataract surgery, you can get your vision back!

Cataract Surgery and What to Expect

Cataracts themselves are not removable from the lens of the eye. Instead, your surgeon removes the entire lens of the eye during cataract surgery.

During the procedure, this involves creating an opening in the cornea and then using a sonic device. The sonic device breaks apart the lens so it fits through the opening. These pieces are then removed using gentle suction.

But, you need your lens to see, so you’ll have an artificial lens put in to replace your natural lens, also known as an intraocular lens. An intraocular lens (IOL) is an artificial lens designed for lens replacement surgeries.

IOLs are surprisingly customizable and are selected before the procedure depending on your financial and vision preferences.

Standard IOLs are monofocal, meaning they only provide you with vision at one fixed distance. This means you will need to continue wearing glasses or contacts after cataract surgery.

Premium IOLs can provide vision at near and far distances, as well as at an intermediate distance. They are not usually covered by insurance, but many people enjoy the benefits of not needing to rely on glasses as much, or in some cases not at all.

If you select a premium IOL, your vision may even end up being better than it has ever been, as they can even correct for pre-existing refractive errors!

You don’t need to worry if you have cataracts. The first step is to schedule a cataract screening. Schedule yours at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME today!

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