One of the most well-known symptoms of cataracts is that they cause vision loss. They are, after all, the leading cause of blindness in the world.
In fact, in the U.S. alone, over half of all Americans will have cataracts by the time they are 80. But vision loss isn’t the only problem cataracts present.
Keep reading to learn about some less common signs that you may have cataracts!
Not all cataracts develop in the same way. The most common way a cataract develops is in the center of the lens of the eye. In other cases, a cataract may develop from the rim of the lens inwards.
This is called a cortical cataract. With a cortical cataract, triangular wedges or clefts grow in towards the center of the lens. This pattern of the cataract causes light to scatter inside the eye, which makes it bounce around. This glare is both painful and distracting.
Although cataracts make your vision worse, in some cases, you may notice your vision gets better. If this happens, it’s a phase of cataract development known as second sight.
This occurs when the cataract causes the lens to swell from the inside. The slight swelling changes the angle that light passes through.
This will temporarily make your near vision clearer. It may even clear up your vision enough that you no longer need glasses.
However, the keyword here is “temporarily”, as cataracts do not get better on their own. Eventually, as the lens clouds over, the second sight will wear off. Once it wears off, your vision will continue degrading.
Double vision, also known as diplopia, is another uncommon trait of cataract development. If you suffer from this symptom, you will see a second “ghost image” of what you’re focusing on.
This can be very disorienting to experience. Double vision can also be a symptom of another condition, so let your eye doctor know if you start seeing double.
One particularly interesting symptom of cataracts is visual aberrations called “halos”. Sometimes patients report seeing rings of light around street lamps or headlights.
This is most common at night. This, combined with poorer night vision from cataracts, makes driving at night very dangerous.
You should never drive when it feels unsafe. This is even more important to heed if you know that you are developing cataracts.
Setting up a cataract screening at Vision Care of Maine is the first step to controlling your cataracts. Cataract surgery is simple, safe, and fast.
The procedure is also pain-free, and most patients’ recoveries are uncomplicated.
During cataract surgery, the lenses of your eyes are replaced with artificial lenses. These are called IOLs.
A big part of getting prepared for cataract surgery is selecting the IOL that best suits your needs. Some kinds of IOLs can even remove your need for glasses!
Come into our office to learn more about IOLs, cataracts, and cataract surgery. Schedule a cataract screening at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME today!
Cataracts are inevitable. As you get older, your chances of developing them will only continue to increase. If you have cataracts, they can put a stop to some of your favorite hobbies by obscuring your vision. In addition to distorting your vision, they can make your vision look like it’s tinted yellow or brown. This can make simply trying to relax with a book exasperating and will make driving (especially at night) dangerous. Having your self-sufficiency taken away from you can be difficult and frustrating, but there is hope for you if you have cataracts. Cataract removal surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries, meaning it is extremely understood and safe to undergo.
A cataract is made up of proteins that exist in the nourishing fluid that flows through your eye, known as the aqueous humor. When a cataract starts forming, these proteins start clumping together on the lens of the eye. The lens is important because it helps light to focus properly on the retina. Cataract surgery isn’t necessary until your cataract starts obscuring your vision. This happens over time and causes the clump of proteins to get bigger and bigger until they block a significant amount of light. This is when a cataract is ready to be removed.
It may seem obvious that the goal of cataract surgery is to remove your cataract, but there’s more to it than that. During cataract surgery, your cataract is removed by fully removing the lens of your eye.
To remove the lens, your cataract surgeon at Vision Care of Maine will break up the lens using an ultrasonic device or laser. The broken pieces of the lens are then sucked out of your eye. After the lens and cataract have been removed, an IOL (also known as an intraocular lens) is placed into your eye to replace the lens. Your IOL will take over the job of your lens, without being clouded or obscuring your vision.
Before cataract surgery, you will discuss what kind of IOL is best for you. In addition to improving your vision, IOLs are able to correct refractive errors. There are several different kinds of IOLs available, but if you are going to cover your procedure with Medicare, the only IOL that is covered is a monofocal IOL.
A monofocal lens improves your distance vision, but you may still require the use of reading glasses if you need to see things up close after cataract surgery. Different types of IOLs have advantages and disadvantages against each other. There are a lot to choose from— multifocal IOLs that have multiple focusing ranges, accommodating IOLs that mimic the small movements of a natural lens, and Toric IOLs that can correct for astigmatism. Premium IOLs like multifocal, accommodating, and Toric lenses are a great option if you are looking for freedom for glasses after cataract surgery!
Want to learn more about cataracts or schedule your cataract surgery? Contact Vision Care of Maine to schedule your cataract surgery consultation!
You guessed it – 2017 is underway and the team at VCOM is planning our next trip to Mexico!
By this time next year, Dr. Curt Young and his awesome team of technicians will be traveling back to Monterrey, Mexico with the same goal in mind – restore eyesight to those who suffer from cataracts but cannot afford this sight-saving surgery.
40% of those with cataracts in Mexico are of working age. With cataracts, their work is hindered and they cannot provide for their families. We want to change that.
“One of the patients from the 2014 project in Montemorelos, Mexico came up to their technician in the hospital corridor the day after her surgery and graciously and emotionally thanked him for his help.
She told him that she had been living by herself in a one-room shack with a dirt floor and no electricity or running water for the past several years following the loss of her vision from diabetes and cataracts.
Too visually impaired to work and without family to help, her survival depended on neighbors putting out a plate of food on her doorstep each day. When the food arrived, she had to contend with wild dogs and birds attacking her to get the meal.
She said she sometimes went days without food and often wished that she would soon die. However, following her operation, she said that she …. wanted to go back to school and become a teacher. She said that her surgery had restored much more than just her vision; it had restored her hope.
What we believe is most profound about this woman’s testimony is not the temporal and physical relief provided by the successful ophthalmic surgery, but rather the healing that occurred in this woman’s soul as a result of the actions of the missionary workers.”
A big thank you to all those involved in our mission trip to Mexico – donators, volunteers, supporters, patients, locals – this all happened with your help!
“It was so humbling – I mean, how do you put an experience like that into words? … We got to practice medicine in its purest form. … We were just helping people who don’t have access to this care otherwise.
They traveled hundreds of miles on a bus just to get to us. We would pull up everyday and there would be 3-5 buses of patients waiting for us to take care of them. I feel very blessed to have been a part of it.”
-Elizabeth Bousquet, an ophthalmic assistant at Vision Care of Maine
Check out some photos of our team from the past week down in Monterrey, where they performed 400 cataract surgeries in 5 days:
On October 1, 2016 Dr. Curt Young and a team of 6 ophthalmic technicians will travel to Monterrey, Mexico to participate in a mission with 5 other eye teams from around the U.S. to provide cataract surgeries to some of Mexico’s lowest-income areas. Dr. Young and his team are volunteering their time and expertise as well as providing the surgical supplies to perform more than 150 cataract surgeries in 5 days to restore sight to those who have become blind with cataracts.
Our team of eye care professionals is dedicated to ensuring that the people who trust us with their vision care receive the most advanced medical and surgical eye care available anywhere.
However, this is not the case in other parts of the world, so we at Vision Care of Maine are taking our expertise and technologies on the road to Mexico for a mission trip to restore the sight to more than 150 people in need.
In the United States we are blessed to be able to have a cataract surgery before it causes us to lose the ability to go about our lives normally. Unfortunately, over 285 million people worldwide live with low vision or blindness. 90% of those live in low-income countries and do not have the resources or access to services that are easily within reach in the U.S.
We thank you in advance for joining Vision Care of Maine’s ‘Vision for Compassion’ by supporting a partial, full or multiple eye surgeries ($250 for each surgery).
Note: Donation link has expired.
Dr. James Diamond, Chairman of Retinal Surgery at Tulane University, Dr. Young’s alma mater, is considered a renowned pioneer in the development of vitrectomy instrumentation and surgical techniques and is an innovator in the field of ophthalmology.
Dr. Young even trained underneath Dr. Diamond during his time at Tulane for his Retina Fellowship. Watch below!