1) Age-related = More than 60% of all Americans over the age of 65 have cataracts.
2) Congenital cataracts = Cataracts can form at birth or in early childhood.
3) Secondary cataracts = Steroid use or health conditions such as diabetes can increase the risk of developing cataracts.
4) Traumatic cataracts = Cataracts may follow an injury to the eye, either quickly or years later.
5) Other causes = Cataracts may follow radiation exposure and excessive exposure to UV light (sunlight) and smoking or alcohol abuse.
Signs and Symptoms
As a cataract progresses and prior to its removal, you may notice a general decrease in the sharpness of your vision. The following symptoms can be signs, not only of cataracts but also of other eye problems. If you experience any of these symptoms, your eyes should be examined by an eye doctor.
* Cloudy or blurred vision
* Difficulty reading
* Faded colors
* Poor night vision
* Double or multiple vision (when you are looking through one or both eyes)
* Frequent changes in prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
A cataract should be removed when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. Surgical treatment for cataracts usually results in excellent vision. Frequently, glasses still must be worn after surgery. If you have other problems besides the cataract, such as macular degeneration, results will not be as predictable.
How is cataract surgery performed?
Dr. Adler uses the most up to date technique for cataract surgery removal called phacoemulsification. This technique is also called small-incision cataract surgery or “phaco” surgery. Dr. Adler makes a small incision on the side of the cornea. Then he inserts a tiny probe into the eye. The probe emits ultrasound waves that soften and break up the cloudy center of the lens so it can be removed by suction. The back half of the lens capsule is left behind. In most cataract surgeries, the removed lens is replaced by an intraocular lens (IOL), which can be made of plastic, silicone or acrylic compounds. There are critical steps preceding the surgical process. We need to measure your eye to determine what power intraocular lens you will need. We need a complete dilated eye examination, a complete medical and eye history, along with a list of current medications you are taking. You must not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before your surgery. Most people choose to stay awake during the surgery. You will be given an anesthetic to numb your eye. Eyedrops are given to dilate your pupils. The area around your eye will be washed. The actual surgery usually takes less than 15 minutes. After surgery: Dr. Adler’s patients who have cataract surgery can go home the same day. You will not be allowed to drive after the surgery so be sure to make transportation arrangements. Dr. Adler will schedule an examination to check the progress of your vision. You will need to take antibiotic and steroid eye drops after the surgery. Although you will not wear a shield home the day of your surgery, Dr. Adler does ask his patients to wear an eye shield at night the first week after surgery. You should avoid bending or lifting for the first week after surgery. You can do light household chores, walk, and climb stairs. Problems after surgery: Problems are rare, but they can occur. These can include infection, bleeding, inflammation, vision loss, corneal swelling and retinal detachment. With prompt medical attention, these problems can usually be treated successfully. You should be fully informed of the risks and benefits of cataract surgery prior to your surgery.
Although the exact causes of AMD are not fully understood, a recent scientific study shows that antioxidant vitamins and zinc may reduce the impact of AMD in some people with the disease.
Among people at high risk for late-stage macular degeneration (those with intermediate AMD in both eyes or advanced AMD in one eye), a dietary supplement of vitamins C, and E, and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowered the risk of the disease progressing to advanced stages by about 25 to 30 percent.
Light may affect the eye by stimulating oxygen, leading to the production of highly reactive and damaging compounds called free radicals. Antioxidant vitamins (vitamins C and E and beta carotene) may work against this activated oxygen and help slow progress of macular degeneration.
Zinc, one of the most common minerals in our body, is very concentrated in the eye, particularly in the retina and macula. Zinc is necessary for the action of over 100 enzymes, including chemical reaction in the retina. Studies show some older people have low levels of zinc in their blood. Because zinc is important for the health of the macula, supplements of zinc in the diet may slow down the process of macular degeneration. Dr. Adler recommends that you not take zinc alone as a supplement but rather as a multi-vitamin with zinc. Taking zinc alone can cause a copper deficiency anemia.
There are several multi-vitamin supplements commercially available. Call our office at 941-753-0220 for recommendations. Please consult an ophthalmologist before taking any multi-formula for the eye.