What You Need to Know About Cataracts

by Aug 21, 2019

Cataract is a word that is commonly brought up to eye care professionals with great concern.  There are a fair number of misconceptions about cataracts, their causes, and what they mean for you and your vision.  The diagnosis of a cataract may be alarming, but it is an incredibly common condition that eventually effects nearly everyone.  Most importantly, cataracts are completely painless, and an easy and effective treatment is available.  

What is a Cataract?

Inside of the eye, behind the iris, there is a structure known as the crystalline lens.  This lens is part of the eye’s focusing system, and is completely clear in youth. Slowly over time, the levels of water, proteins, and free radicals inside the lens begins to increase, and the clarity of the lens is affected.  The lens gradually becomes cloudy, and this clouding is referred to as a cataract. Depending on where proteins are accumulating, cataracts can form in different parts of the lens and create different types of cataracts. The different forms of cataracts explain why some people experience more visual difficulty due to their cataracts than others.  

Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts

The most typical form of age-related cataracts is caused when the very center nucleus of the crystalline lens becomes cloudy.  In this very common type of cataract, distance vision can become cloudy or blurry as the cataract progresses. Those affected by this age-related cataract may also notice that colors appear less vibrant, and they may struggle with glare or notice halos around lights.  Some people notice these symptoms very early in cataract formation, while it takes others decades of having a cataract before they are symptomatic. There is no good way to predict the progression of cataract symptoms. 

An optometrist can diagnose a cataract by looking at your eye through a high powered microscope.  If they identify that a cataract is present, and suspect it may be affecting your vision, they may perform further testing to determine just how visually significant the cataract is.  These additional tests may include glare testing or pinhole testing to further assess vision. 

After the Diagnosis: Cataract Surgery

Being diagnosed with a cataract is not something that should be stressed over.  Cataracts are a very common age-related change. In fact, everyone develops some degree of cataracts if they live long enough.  Most cataracts progress at a relatively slow rate, and can be monitored at an annual eye exam. When the cataracts have progressed enough to the point where they begin affecting vision or interfering with daily activities, it may be time to consider cataract surgery.  Cataract extraction surgery is a safe, routine, outpatient surgery in which the cloudy lens affected by the cataract is removed and replaced by a clear biocompatible lens. Millions of people undergo cataract surgery every year with excellent results. After surgery, vision is typically much clearer, and there is even a chance that glasses will not be needed.  Like any surgery, there are risks associated with cataract extraction, but the risks are few and complications are rare. Eye care professionals agree that cataract surgery is a safe and effective treatment option. 


Our eye doctors and staff at Nittany Eye Care excel in the diagnosis and management of cataracts and cataract surgery, which can be a vision threatening issue.  Call us at (814) 234-2015 or schedule an appointment online.  Our optometrists provide the highest quality eye care services in the State College, Matilda, Spring Mills, Tyrone, and Lock Haven PA areas. 

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1 Comment

  1. sharon suter

    Do you have to put drops in your eyes and how often


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