Understanding Cataracts in 2023: Causes, Symptoms, & Surgery Options

What Are Cataracts

Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness and vision loss around the globe. A condition affecting over 24.4 million Americans over 40, cataracts are a severe issue for many adults. Almost all Americans will have cataracts by the age of 75.

Because of how prevalent cataracts are, it’s essential to understand the causes, symptoms, and surgery options available for cataracts in 2023. This article will explore everything you should know regarding cataracts to protect your eye health.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a common eye condition occurring when the eye’s lens becomes clouded. Depending on the severity, cataracts can cause vision to become blurry, distorted, or even completely blocked. Cataracts can be treated with surgery in some cases, but in others, they may require a lifelong management plan.

As you age, the lens of your eye hardens, and the surrounding muscles struggle to mold to the shape of the lens. When your eye’s lens hardens, its color might change and appear clouded and brownish, resulting in a slightly different appearance and a decrease in your vision and perception.

Types of Cataracts

There are three types of cataracts patients commonly seek treatment for:

  • Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts
  • Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts
  • Cortical Cataracts

Your treatment options may differ depending on the severity and type of cataracts you suffer. Consider the information below to determine the likelihood that you are struggling with cataracts.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts

These cataracts are the most common type of this condition. Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts begin when the center of the eye’s lens, or its nucleus, gradually hardens and adopts a yellowish hue. This initial hardening begins expanding to other layers of your eye’s lens, leading to the appearance of scattered light and decreasing the amount of light hitting your retina.

If this cataract is left untreated, it can lead to severe vision loss and, eventually, total vision loss.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

The second type of cataract is Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts which describes an opaque area of the eye that forms at the back of your lens, leading to a gradual loss of vision. Early on, the symptoms of posterior subcapsular cataracts may be minimal; however, this type typically grows faster than other cataracts and can decrease your vision significantly within months.

When posterior subcapsular cataracts grow, they cause the light entering your eye to scatter, making it challenging to see comfortably in bright light or while performing activities like reading. Additionally, this type of cataract can cause glare and halos around lights at nighttime.

Cortical Cataracts

The final category of cataracts is called Cortical Cataracts and begins as slight, spoke-like opacity surrounding the edges of your eye’s lens. Cortical cataracts slowly grow around the edge of your lens while expanding to the center to further disrupt your vision. When left untreated, Cortical cataracts can cause significant challenges seeing in dimly lit spaces and can cause severe or complete vision loss.

Symptoms of Cataracts

The most prevalent symptom of cataracts is blurred vision. However, cataract symptoms manifest in various ways for different individuals. Even if you are not experiencing overly blurry vision, cataracts are a possibility if you notice the following signs:

  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Color fading
  • Struggling to see at nighttime
  • Noticing a halo around any lights
  • Light sources like lamps, headlights, or sunlight seem brighter than usual or uncomfortably bright

If you encounter any of these symptoms, it is essential to see an eye specialist for a complete eye exam, such as one of the eye care experts at Newsom Eye.

What Causes Cataracts?

Aging is the leading cause of cataracts, and many adults suffer from this condition. As we age, the proteins in our eyes break down, which causes the lens to become cloudy. Additionally, a family history of cataracts may cause you to be more likely to develop the condition than someone without a family history of cataracts.

Other potential causes of cataracts include the following.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a major cause of cataracts. The disease can increase the risk of cataracts as high blood sugar levels cause structural changes in your eye’s lens, accelerating the development of cataracts. Diabetes can also cause inflammation of the eye, resulting in cloudy vision. Individuals with diabetes may be more likely to develop cataracts depending on the time they’ve had diabetes, the frequency of glucose levels above a target range, and macular edema.

Severe Eye Injuries

A severe eye injury, such as blunt trauma or a chemical burn, can also lead to the development of cataracts. The injury can damage the eye’s lens, resulting in the onset of cataracts. The severity of the eye injury and the body’s response to it will determine the extent of the damage.

Steroid Medicines

Various steroid medicines are used to treat multiple health conditions, including arthritis and severe allergies. However, these medications can also increase the risk of developing cataracts. This issue may arise because steroids can alter the structure of the lens of the eye, leading to cloudy vision.

Eye Surgery

Eye surgery to treat another eye condition, such as glaucoma, can also lead to the development of cataracts. As with any surgery, there is a slight risk of complications, including damage to the eye’s lens. This damage can cause the lens to become cloudy, resulting in cataracts.

Radiation Treatments

Radiation treatment for diseases such as cancer can also increase the risk of developing cataracts. The radiation can damage the eye’s lens, leading to cloudy vision. Long-term radiation exposure is more likely to cause cataracts than short-term exposure.

Smoking and Drinking

Smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to the rapid development of cataracts. Smoking increases the risk of cataracts due to cigarette toxins, which can damage the eye. Alcohol consumption can also lead to dehydration, making the eye lens more prone to damage.

Overexposure to the Sun

Overexposure to the sun without protective sunglasses can also increase the risk of developing cataracts. The UV rays from the sun can harm the eye’s lens, leading to the onset of cataracts. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection can help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

Cataract Surgery and Treatment Options

Treating cataracts is most commonly done with eye surgery. Innovative solutions are available from Newsom Eye to fully treat cataracts and restore your vision to the best possible state, below are listings.

The SBL-3 ClearView Multifocal Intraocular Lens (IOL)

Newsom Eye offers the SBL-3 ClearView Multifocal Intraocular Lens (IOL), the newest FDA-approved lens for cataract surgery, to help improve a patient’s eyesight.

The SBL-3 ClearView Multifocal IOL is implanted during your cataract surgery at Newsom Eye to provide significant visual improvements for distance, intermediate, and near-sighted vision. As the first institution in Florida and the Eastern United States to implement the SBL-3 lens, Newsom Eye has the expertise to safely implant these lenses to help you see better than you have in years.

Vivity IOL

On June 23, 2020, T. Hunter Newsom, MD, and the Newsom Eye team implanted the first FDA-approved Vivity Intracoular Lens in the United States. The Vivity IOL is a new, non-diffractive Extended Depth of Focus IOL which helps a patient to see at both distance and near without glasses. Dr. Newsom and his supporting staff were involved as a Principle Investigator during the FDA trial of this technology. 

The benefit of the Vivity IOL is that the lens does not cause rings and halos at night like other diffractive or multifocal IOLs that we currently implant to focus for distance and near vision. Newsom Eye is proud to be the first and only practice in the community to offer the most technologically advanced Extended Depth of Focus IOL!

Light Adjustable Lens (LAL)

The Light Adjustable Lens is the most accurate IOL in the world today. As a Principle Investigator for the FDA study of the RxSight™ Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) since 2012, Dr. Newsom and Newsom Eye have a unique knowledge of this technology and how to utilize the LAL to give each patient the best possible vision following cataract surgery. 

With the LAL, the patient’s prescription is applied directly to the lens AFTER surgery and is the only IOL that offers the ability to design, trial and customize vision. After the eye heals from surgery, the patient returns for a vision test. Based on this exam, a custom prescription is selected for the adjustable lens based on each patient’s own eyes and unique lifestyle requirements. This adjustment can be done three to five times, allowing each patient to try their new LAL adjustment in the real world.

RxSight™ LAL allows you to adjust your new lenses to your lifestyle to ensure that you have a solution suitable for your eyes. With your Newsom Eye doctor, you can craft a treatment that’s everything you want to find.

Find Expert Cataracts Treatment at Newsom Eye

Individuals residing in Florida and exploring their options to treat cataracts can look no further than the treatment options at Newsom Eye. The expert doctors and surgeons from Newsom Eye are led by surgeon T. Hunter Newsom MD, inventor of the Newsom bladeless laser cataract surgery method. Our innovative procedures are the most advanced options for those suffering from cataracts.
Contact us to schedule your consultation because you deserve Newsom Eyes!