A cataract is a very common condition that causes a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. If left untreated, cataracts can cause a severe debilitation in vision, and may ultimately lead to blindness. Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions in America, particularly seen in people over 65. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 50% of all Americans develop cataracts by age 75.

At Riverside EyeCare Professionals our board-certified ophthalmologists—Dr. Michael Sumsion and Dr. Sean Sumsion—perform cataract surgery to precisely remove cataracts and improve your vision. This virtually painless procedure includes state-of-the-art techniques and lenses that can help you restore your vision and your lifestyle.

Please follow the links below to get detailed information about cataracts and cataract surgery, as well as treatments designed to improve vision after cataract removal. For more information, or to schedule a consultation with one of our ophthalmologists, please
contact Riverside EyeCare Professionals today.

Are There Different Types of Cataracts?

There are three main types of cataracts that can cloud the natural lens. The names of each type refer to the location of the lens where the cataract develops:

  • Nuclear cataracts are associated with the natural aging process and form around the center of the eye’s lens. This type of cataract can appear to have a yellow or brown color.
  • Subcapsular (posterior) cataracts tend to form more rapidly than other types of cataracts and are most often found in patients with a history of steroid medication use and diabetes. These cataracts form on the back side of the eye’s lens.
  • Cortical cataracts are opaque white and form along the peripheral edges of the eye’s lens (called the cortex). They are wedge-shaped and grow inward toward the center of the lens.

What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts form due to a buildup of protein in the eye’s lens, which clouds vision. Most commonly, cataracts develop as a result of the natural aging process; however, they may also be caused or hastened by a variety of other known risk factors:

  • Injury to the eye
  • Previous eye surgeries
  • Certain medications (i.e. steroid medications)
  • Certain health problems and diseases (i.e. diabetes)
  • Other eye conditions
  • Excessive exposure to UV light
  • Smoking

What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

There are many symptoms you may experience as a result of cataracts. If you notice any of these signs, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified ophthalmologists for an exam that includes state-of-the-art diagnostic testing.

  • Vision that seems foggy, blurry, or dulled
  • Progressive loss of vision
  • Double-vision
  • Noticeable glare
  • Poor vision in low-light and nighttime conditions
  • Need for additional light to read or complete other activities
  • Marked loss of vision that affects quality of life
  • Appearance of halos surrounding bright lights
  • Frequent vision prescription changes
  • Shadowy double images (“ghost images”)
  • Faded or yellowed perception of colors
  • Light sensitivity

How Can Cataracts Be Prevented?

Currently, there is no scientific data that definitively supports a method of preventing cataracts. However, some studies have helped doctors identify ways that may aid in reducing the risk and/or slowing down the progression of the condition. Some of the most effective suggestions include:

  • Annual eye examinations
  • A healthy diet consisting of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables (especially vitamins E and C)
  • Protective sunglasses to block UV light
  • Managing other medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc.)
  • No smoking
  • Minimal alcohol consumption

Even with preventative methods, it is important for you and your doctor to discuss potential treatment options at the earliest stage of the condition, once cataracts are first detected. Doing so can establish a plan to prevent serious vision impairment and, if necessary, allow you both to discuss cataract surgery options with an experienced eye surgeon, such as Dr. Michael Sumsion and Dr. Sean Sumsion.

What Are My Cataract Treatment Options?

Our experienced cataract surgeon offers a number of extraordinarily effective, virtually painless cataract treatments that can not only remove the cataract, but also improve your vision after the procedure. During cataract surgery, an intraocular lens (IOL) replaces your natural lens with an implant that can help to improve near, intermediate, and far distance vision.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Cataracts

  • What does vision look like with cataracts?

    Depending on the stage of cataracts, the world may look a little different and affect your vision in different ways. Some of the most common or noticeable changes include decreased, blurry, or double vision; reduction in the brightness of colors; halos or glares around lights; poor night vision; and a general distortion of vision in either one or both eyes. It is important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as you notice any of these changes to your vision so they may perform a thorough examination.
  • At what age do cataracts develop?

    Cataracts can begin at any age, depending on the type of cataract experienced and category. In general, age-related cataracts, which form in the center of your eye lens during the natural aging process, usually develop between 40 and 50 years old. More than half of all Americans are affected by cataracts and experience symptoms or receive treatment by the time they are 80 years old. Alternatively, congenital cataracts can form in babies and children resulting from an infection or a developmental issue in the womb, or even progress throughout childhood. Other circumstances — such as developing cataracts from a non-ocular health condition (diabetes, medications, or toxic exposure) or a general eye injury — do not have a specific age in which the condition develops.
  • What are the first signs of cataracts?

    Most of the time, cataracts develop slowly and changes to vision may not be noticed right away due to only a small part of the eye’s lens being affected. In the earliest stage of cataracts, you may have some mildly blurred or cloudy/hazy vision, light sensitivity, eye strain, slight glare, or difficulty seeing while driving at night, reading, and focusing on objects up close (such as faces). Scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor or health care provider can provide you with a proper evaluation and diagnosis.
  • What does it feel like to have cataracts?

    Although cataracts are not painful, they can produce bothersome visual impairments that disrupt everyday life and activities. As the cataract continues to grow, it can feel like you are looking through a fogged-up window. Sensitivity to light, seeing halos around lights, or double vision are additional examples in which your eyes may feel a difference attributed to cataract symptoms.

Contact Riverside EyeCare Professionals

If you would like more information on the many procedures we offer, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Sumsion, please contact Riverside EyeCare Professionals today.