Understanding Cataracts After A New Diagnosis

Cataracts can be a nuisance. They can impair your vision and make it hard for you to distinguish colors. Understanding cataracts and the treatments available can help you deal with this condition.

What Are Cataracts and How Are They Formed?

A cataracts dignosis means you have have developed one of the three main types of cataracts:
• Cortical cataracts: These form in the lens cortex, and slowly extend from the outside of the lens to the middle. Many people with diabetes develop cortical cataracts.
• Nuclear cataracts: These form in the nucleus of the eyes and are usually a result of natural aging.
• Subcapsular cataracts: This type begins at the back of the lens. People who take steroid medications, are farsighted or who have diabetes are prone to subcapsular cataracts.
The exact cause of cataracts is unknown, but scientists and medical professionals believe that many factors may contribute to their formation. Possible causes of cataracts include:
• Cosmic radiation (astronauts are often exposed)
• Diabetes
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Exposure to ultraviolet light
• Free radicals found in air pollution
• Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
• Lead exposure
• Nuclear radiation
• Smoking cigarettes
• Use of diuretics, steroids or tranquilizers.

How Will Cataracts Affect My Life?

Cataracts can impair your vision by clouding over the lenses of your eyes. Colors may become darker and you may have trouble distinguishing them. You may also have difficulties seeing at night, or experience double or triple vision.
People with cataracts often find that their glasses or contact lenses are no longer effective in helping them see.
If you have cataracts, you’ll want to take extra care while driving. You should not operate a vehicle if your condition impairs your ability to distinguish colors. Colors like red and green–those found in traffic lights–are among the most commonly confused, which could make driving a hazardous activity for you and others.

Will I Need Corrective Surgery?

Cataract surgery is recommended for those who want to restore their vision and correct other ocular problems, such as:
• Eyes can’t focus enough to read or use a computer
• Too much glare from light sources
• Trouble judging distances that leads to bumps or falls.
Cataract surgery is a low-pain procedure. Eye drops are given to numb the eyes and add to your comfort. The surgery has a success rate of 98 percent (Lasik Institute, 2003). Talk to your doctor to find out about the necessary steps to take when preparing for cataract surgery.