Common Questions on Cataracts

optometristThis June is Cataract Awareness Month! Unless you’ve had a cataract or know someone who has had one, you may not know as much as you should about this age-related vision problem. This week, our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center are dedicating their time to make sure that you know more about cataracts!

Optometrists Answer FAQs About Cataracts

What is a cataract exactly?

A cataract is generally categorized as a clouding of the eye’s lens, which lies directly behind the pupil. Cataracts are most often found in people who are 50 years or older. About half of the population suffers from a cataract by the time they are 65 years old.

How are cataracts treated?

Typically, a cataract surgery is performed in order to remove the cataract. A qualified optometrist will make a small incision to remove the lens and replace it with an intraocular lens, which will restore the vision to the eye. Because this procedure is a surgery, it is important to check with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for the procedure, but it is rare to find a severe complication after a cataract surgery.

Will I need to wear glasses after receiving cataract surgery?

While each person is different and reacts differently to the surgery, most of the surgeries that optometrists perform today can restore your vision to 20/20 vision, which will allow you to see without glasses or contact lenses.

Is it possible to get a cataract again after surgery?

Yes, it is possible. These secondary cataracts show up in about 20 to 30% of the cases we see, but this is often months or years after the initial surgery.

Cataracts can impair your vision, but thankfully they can be corrected easily. To learn more about cataracts, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Understand Pre-Cataracts

CataractsCataracts are one of the most common factors in the erosion of our eye health. This condition leads to the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies beneath the iris and the pupil. Signs of cataracts usually occur around the age of 40, and the risk of getting them only increases as you get older. If you’re concerned about cataracts, here are a few symptoms to look out for in order to catch this condition in its early stages.

Symptoms

The following symptoms indicate that your eye may have a cataract:

  • Cloudy, fuzzy, foggy, or film vision
  • Double vision
  • Glare from direct contact with lights
  • Difficulty driving at night due to glare from headlights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription

If you find yourself suffering from any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your optometrist and find out ways to treat a possible cataract.

Prevention

Because there is no particular known cause of cataracts, there is not an exact method of preventing them. There are a few steps you can take, however, to ensure that your eyes are in good health. Before the age of 50, you should be getting your eyes checked once every two years. Once you turn 50 years old, though, you should get your eyes checked annually.

Risk Factors

While age is the leading cause of cataracts, there are a few other factors that lead to its development. Below are some factors that may be helpful in early detection.

  • A family history of cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Ionizing radiation exposure
  • The use of statins
  • Long-term exposure to bright sunlight
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids
  • Previous eye inflammation
  • Exposure to lead

Always make sure to take the proper steps to ensure that your eyes are in good health. If you recognize any symptoms of pre-cataracts, schedule an appointment today for an eye exam by calling 602-955-2700 or by visiting our website.

Eye Health Starts with What You Eat!

Eye HealthWe all know that vitamins are good for us; however, taking daily supplements isn’t enough to keep our bodies completely healthy. Eating right is crucial to our overall well-being, but what many people don’t know is that certain foods can also promote great eye health. In observance of National Fruits and Vegetables Month, we have compiled a list of vitamins below that are beneficial for your eyes and how to add them to your diet.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A protects the surface of your eye and can also decrease your risk of getting macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease. This helpful vitamin is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale and can also help your immune system, so it is important not only for your eye health but also for your overall health.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is great for your eyes and your immune system. It strengthens your retina and can help reduce the risk of cataracts after long-term use. Since we cannot produce vitamin C ourselves, it is important that we get enough of it in our diet. Vitamin C is prevalent in oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and strawberries.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and can help in preventing cataracts. Make sure to add almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and avocados to your diet, as they are all great sources of vitamin E.

Zinc

Did you know that zinc can help you to see better at night, as well as reduce your risk of vision loss? Zinc ensures that both vitamins A and E, which are also great for eye health, work properly. You can find zinc in beef, lobster, and yogurt.

The key to great eye health is in the refrigerator! By including these foods in your diet, you can support your overall health all season long. For more information on eye health and how to improve your diet, schedule an appointment with Valley Eyecare Center.

Get An Eye Exam During Men’s Health Month!

Eye_examWhile studies show that women are more likely to develop eye health issues than men, it’s still crucial for men to remember the importance of properly taking care of their eyes and getting a yearly eye exam—especially during National Men’s Health Month! Find out why eye exams are important.

Detect Corrective Needs

Even if it seems that your sight is 20/20, only an optometrist can confirm whether you need a prescription or not. Also, even if you already have prescription glasses or contact lenses, you still need to get your eyes checked. Your eyes change as you age so it is important to monitor any corrective needs through regular eye exams.

Detect Eye Health Problems

Regular eye exams help prevent vision problems before they occur! Don’t assume that your eyes are great because they are not showing any symptoms of a health condition. Many common eye problems actually do not show any symptoms until well after they’re developed. Through an eye exam, your optometrist can detect disorders such as glaucoma and cataracts at an early stage, which can increase the chance of a successful treatment.

Detect General Health Problems

Did you know that eye health is connected to overall health and well-being? Through eye exams, an optometrist can detect more than eye problems; they can also uncover signs of health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure—making eye exams arguably as important as annual physicals.

Our eyes are one of the most important parts of our bodies—especially when it comes to living our day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, they are very fragile and can easily be damaged. Take advantage of National Men’s Health Month and schedule your eye exam with Valley Eyecare Center today!

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists, visit our website.

 

Everyday Steps for Sun Protection Safety

Eye SafetyContrary to popular belief, sun damage to your eyes doesn’t occur only during the summer—especially for those living in Arizona. Extended exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation (UV Rays) throughout the year can lead to eye health conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, pingueculae, ptergia and photokeratitis—also known as sunburn of the cornea—which can lead to temporary blindness. Don’t risk your eye health, follow these eye safety tips to protect your sight from sun damage.

Add Vitamin C and other Antioxidants to your diet

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that can help lower the risk of developing eye health conditions such as cataracts, and slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration. In addition, having normal blood plasma levels of Vitamin C and other antioxidants can help reduce the risk of retinal damage from High-Energy Visible Radiation (also known as “blue light”), which can lead to an increase in one’s long-term risk of macular degeneration.

Wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV Rays

Many people do not realize that, just like skin, your eyes can get sunburned from extended ultraviolet radiation exposure—and it is very painful. Anyone who spends time outdoors is at risk of sun eye damage, which is why you should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from radiation from the sun. When buying sunglasses, stay away from the dollar store. Always look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV Rays, absorb most HEV Rays, and frames that wrap around the head and are close-fitting. These offer the best sun protection eye safety because they limit the amount of sunlight that reaches your eyes.

For more information about eye safety, our selection of sunglasses with UV and HEV protection, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists, visit our website.

Diabetes and Eye Health

Eye CareDiabetes can result in eye health complications, so knowing ways to care for your eyes can help you through the struggle. Diabetic eye disease comprises a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, and non-proliferative and proliferative retinopathy. Keep reading to understand the different types of eye complications and find out how to maintain eye care, and how to prevent major problems.

 

Cataracts

Although not always occurring due to diabetes, cataracts can be difficult to avoid while being diabetic. In fact, many people who are diabetic develop cataracts at a very young age and the issue only escalates from that point. To treat this, the option to have surgery is most definitely available, however, you can prevent cataracts from worsening by protecting your eyes from the sun as much as possible.

Glaucoma

Much like developing cataracts, people with diabetes have a risk of having Glaucoma—the older they get, the bigger the risk. Due to Glaucoma, vision progressively weakens as damage is caused to the retina and nerves in the eye. Treatments for this eye health condition range from prescription medicine to surgery.

Non-proliferative and Proliferative Retinopathy

Directly caused by diabetes, non-proliferative retinopathy causes a build-up of blood in the capillaries of the eye clogging up blood vessels. In proliferative retinopathy, the blood vessels, being severely blocked off, eventually close up completely. However, new vessels grow in place of the fallen vessels, but are not as reliable. There are a plethora of options in regards to treatment of retinopathy such as photocoagulation and vitrectomy, which could prevent any further eye complications.

For more information about diabetes and eye health or to schedule an appointment with us, contact either of our locations or visit our website. Our staff at Valley Eyecare Center will be happy to answer all your questions and help you get the right treatment.

Why Is My Vision Blurry?

Eye ExamBlurry vision is the loss of sharpness of eyesight and can be caused by a few different factors. The most common causes are reflective errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. However, blurred vision can be a symptom to health conditions that are much more threatening to your sight. Find out which are the most common causes of blurred vision and if you are in need of an eye exam.

Myopia

Myopia, also known as Nearsightedness, is a refractive error that can cause blurry vision in one or both eyes. This condition can also lead to squinting, headaches and eye strains. During an eye exam, an eye doctor can tell you what methods might improve your condition.

Hyperopia

Hyperopia, also known as Farsightedness, is a condition in which objects from far away are clear opposed to objects close-up which become blurry. This eye condition can be managed with prescription glasses or contacts.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism happens when the cornea has an odd shape and light rays don’t come through a single focal point leading to unclear vision. Similarly to Hyperopia and Myopia, Astigmatism can be corrected with prescription glasses, contacts or surgery.

Dry Eyes

Symptoms of dry eyes can include blurred vision. Artificial tears can help but it is important to see your eye doctor in case your condition requires further care.

Cataracts

Symptoms for cataracts include cloudy vision and may be mistaken for a more simple vision issue. This condition can develop as one ages , if eye lens tissue is injured or due to genetic disorders. See your eye doctor as soon as possible to get the proper treatments for this condition.

Pregnancy

Due to hormonal changes in the body, the shape and thickness of the cornea can change, leading to blurred vision. Your eye doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis and treatments to the condition during a comprehensive eye exam.

 

At Valley Eyecare Center, we can determine the cause of your blurry vision with a comprehensive eye exam. Call 602-242-6888 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

Eye Condition: Don’t Wait for Symptoms to Appear

Eye ConditionYou faithfully schedule your annual physical even though you feel healthy so you can nip any health problems in the bud. Do you take the same care with your eyes? An eye condition can respond positively to early detection and treatment, but many present no symptoms until well into their development.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3.4 million Americans aged 40 and older are legally blind or visually impaired. Protect your vision by getting checked for these common eye conditions.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a build-up of fluids in the eye where the resulting pressure damages the optic nerve. This eye condition is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Currently there is no cure for glaucoma, but early treatment such as prescription eyedrops or surgery can keep it controlled.

Cataracts

Cataracts result when the eye’s lens becomes stiff,  causing a cloudiness that makes it difficult to focus. This eye condition develops slowly and often occurs in older people. Early treatment can include glasses or magnifying lenses. Surgery is also used to replace the cloudy lens with an artificial one.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a progressive deterioration of the macula, located in the center of the retina, which causes a reduction in visual detail. This eye condition may be “dry,” where deposits occur on the macula, or “wet,” where the growth of abnormal blood vessels causes leakage into the retina. While only about 10 percent of AMD cases are of the wet form, it accounts for the majority of severe vision loss caused by the disease.

Detached retina

Risk factors for a detached retina include severe nearsightedness, eye injury and family history. Regular eye exams can help prevent detachment by spotting retinal tearing or other changes.

Don’t take chances with your precious eyesight. Schedule an appointment today for a full eye exam at Valley Eyecare Center so we can address any questions or concerns you may have.

Prevent Cataracts this Summer

Cataracts Have you ever had difficulty seeing through a fogged-up window while driving? That’s what the world looks like for people with cataracts. This clouding of the lenses of your eyes begins slowly, but can progress to a point where surgery is required.

According to Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, more than 22.3 million people in America suffer from this disease. Protect your eye health and keep your vision sunny this summer by following these tips.

Eat a nutritional diet

Vitamins C and E have antioxidant properties that have been shown to reduce the development and progression of the disease. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in the eye lens, so intake of food with these nutrients will also help maintain good health. Include plenty of green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and berries, and almonds and sunflower seeds in your diet.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Ultraviolet rays can contribute to the development of cataracts. Shield your eyes by wearing sunglasses or wide-brimmed hats. You should also avoid sunlamps and tanning booths.

Stop smoking

The dangers of smoking are well-known, so it should come as no surprise to learn that it can also negatively affect your eye health. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals that damage the proteins and fiber cell membrane in the eye lens. In addition, smoking reduces your body’s level of antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals.

Control diabetes

Diabetes is a major risk factor for cataracts. Controlling your blood sugar will cut down on the chances of this development.

Get an annual eye exam

Early detection is key to successful treatment. Make sure you schedule a full checkup every year.

Our Phoenix optometrists are happy to answer any of your questions about prevention and treatment of cataracts. Contact us today to schedule your eye exam.

Symptoms Of Early Cataracts

Male ophthalmologist conducting an eye examinationOne of the many conditions that can be detected through yearly eye exams is the early onset of cataracts. This painless but sight-stealing condition happens to many people as they age, but can also affect a younger person. Here are the symptoms that should prompt an immediate call to the optometrist.

Cloudy Vision

As a cataract begins to develop, the changes are very slight. The lens of your eye becomes cloudy, and you may not catch it for a while. Vision in low light conditions may start to be noticeably difficult, and you may catch yourself squinting during nighttime driving. This is exactly the type of symptom that annual eye exams are designed to detect, since the doctor will notice them well before they can cause you trouble.

Sudden Shift in Vision

Have you been nearsighted most of your life, or had issues seeing up close? A sudden change in your ability to see near and far may indicate a cataract. This generally points to a more advanced condition, and your sight is likely to decline further from that point.

Glares and Halos

Night vision can be quite a challenge once cataracts begin to form. Not only can dark conditions make it difficult to see shapes and surfaces, but the glare from light sources (such as headlights and street lamps) can be nearly blinding. A bright ring will encircle light sources and may cause you to be temporarily blinded. Night driving can be quite a hazardous activity for those who have forming cataracts.

Double Vision

Last but not least, a symptom such as double vision is a strong indicator of cataract formation. This often happens in the beginning of the cataract’s life cycle, and may eventually fade as the cataract develops over time.

Early formation of cataracts can be brought on by diabetes, cancer treatments using radiation, and lifestyle choices such as alcohol and tobacco use. If you fall into any of those categories, eye exams are even more important for you. If you develop any of the above symptoms, call your Phoenix optometrist right away.