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Do You Know These Cataract Facts?

November 21, 2018

Elderly Woman with Cataracts

 

You may be wondering why some people get cataracts in one eye and others are instead affected in both. Does this mean that if you get a cataract in one eye that it will spread to the other?

 
Not at all! Read on to learn about cataracts, how they develop, and other important facts.

Cataract Facts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens that results in distorted vision. If left untreated, cataracts can lead to total loss of vision, but this could take decades. 
 
Cataracts are not something that develop overnight. Usually, a cataract develops slowly over time, and may not result in immediate vision loss. Cataracts are often referred to as an "age-related" condition. However, this does not mean that cataracts only affect senior citizens. 
 
Since cataracts are seen as an age-related condition, this common misconception has evolved.  After all, more than half of Americans will develop a cataract by the age of 80. Many may have already had a cataract removed and replaced with an IOL. 
 
What people don't realize is cataracts can develop in their forties. A cataract may not "ripen" or fully develop until many years later. It's at this point that vision loss occurs and removal is necessary. 
 

Cataracts Do Not “Spread”

As for whether cataracts can spread from one eye to the other, the answer is that they can't.
 
A cataract can develop in one or both eyes at the same time. More often than not, people who develop a cataract in one eye do develop a cataract in the other. But this does not mean that the first cataract “spread” like a germ to create the second. 
 

Early Treatment

Most cataract patients do not realize they have cataracts until decades after development. This does not mean that the first step is to make an appointment with a cataract surgeon, though. A cataract does not have to be removed if vision is not significantly affected. 
 
If you find it difficult to enjoy activities, cataract surgery becomes necessary. It's important to see your eye doctor for regular eye exams if you have been diagnosed with cataracts. Staying on top of your condition is one of the best things you can do! 
 

Causes Of Cataracts

The lens of the eye is made of proteins and water. These proteins are necessary for keeping the lens clear. A clear lens allows light to pass through the retina, then to the back of the eye. 
 
This translates the image from nerve endings to an image the brain can see. When we age, proteins in the lens begin to shift and clump together. 
 
When enough proteins clump together, they form a cataract and impede vision. Cataracts that are not treated will lead to loss of vision. The only way to successfully treat cataracts is by having them removed.
 
If you're losing your sight due to cataracts, you probably have hundreds of questions. Get answers by scheduling an appointment with Omaha Eye & Laser Institute in Lincoln, NE!

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11606 Nicholas St.
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Lincoln, NE 68521
Toll Free 800.726.2647
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