If you would like to learn more about Cataracts call 1-800-244-9907 to make an appointment at Central Valley Eye Medical Group.

What are cataracts?

A cataract is the gradual clouding of the natural crystalline lens within the eye. When we are born, this natural lens is clear and provides us with crisp, sharp vision. As we age, our natural lens becomes more cloudy and foggy due to alterations in the protein structure in the lens. Initially, these changes do not require any treatment and can be safely observed with routine eye exams with your eyecare professional. Over time, however, the cataract grows and causes blurry vision that affects our normal daily activities. At this point, cataract surgery to exchange the clouded lens with a new, clear, artificial lens is recommended.

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. In the U.S. alone, over 22 million people over the age of 40 are affected by cataracts. As the population ages, this number will continue to grow. At Central Valley Eye, we are dedicated to ensuring this reversible cause of blindness is treated by the best surgeons and the newest technologies in cataract surgery.


What are the risk factors for developing cataracts?

The vast majority of cataracts are simply due to aging and develop slowly over a lifetime. Other contributing factors, which may accelerate cataract formation include:
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to radiation from cancer treatments

Very rarely, cataracts can develop following eye injury or chronic steroid use, or be related to certain medical conditions. In these rare cases, the cataract can develop quite rapidly, over days or months, or they may be present from birth.

What Are The Symptoms of Cataracts?

The progression of cataracts is typically slow, and you won’t have any symptoms in the earliest stages. There is not any pain associated with cataracts. These are the typical symptoms:
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased glare
  • Poor night vision
  • Decreased color vibrancy
  • Frequently changing eyeglass prescription

What Happens if Cataracts Are Left Untreated?

In the early stages, your cataracts do not require any treatment and can safely be observed with routine exams. Once the cataracts begin to cause blurry vision that affects your quality of life, they are treated with cataract surgery. If left untreated, your cataract will continue to grow and your vision will continue to worsen until the cataract is removed.

Cataract surgery typically is not recommended until a patient is symptomatic and having issues with their vision. However earlier cataract surgery may be beneficial in patients who have a large prescription difference between their two eyes (anisometropia), those with a low corneal endothelial cell count (i.e. Fuchs corneal dystrophy), and those with primary angle closure or angle closure glaucoma.


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