No matter your age, how well you see, or how much strain you put on your eyes on a day to day basis, having an eye exam at a reputable clinic like Carson Optical is crucial to the health of your eyes. While most people associate eye exams with charts and updated prescriptions, opticians are also checking for symptoms of issues that you may not even recognize yet, such as cataracts.

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of your eye that develop as you get older. They block light from your eye, resulting in a blurry image. Because of their slow development over time, it is easy not to notice the presence of cataracts in your eyes. As time goes on, cataracts can affect the strength of your vision. Here are some commonly asked questions about cataracts, so you’re prepared in case your doctor detects a cataract at your next eye exam:

What are the symptoms of a cataract?

Since cataracts have a slow and mild start, most people do not experience symptoms of cataracts at first. However, as they develop and get more serious, you may experience symptoms in your vision such as:

  • Clouded or blurry vision

  • Faded Colors

  • Difficulty seeing at night

  • Overly bright lights

  • Halos around lights

  • Double vision

  • Frequent changes in prescription

What causes cataracts?

Cataracts are typically caused by aging or eye injury, which can change the tissue in your lens. They can also be caused by frequent and chronic use of steroids and other eye conditions or previous eye surgeries. In general, the most common cause of cataracts is aging, and over half of Americans ages 80 years old or older have cataracts or have had surgery to remove cataracts.

Am I at risk for cataracts?

While your risk for cataracts increases as you get older, certain risk factors could make some people more likely to get cataracts, such as:

  • Diabetes

  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight

  • Smoking

  • Obesity

  • High blood pressure

  • Alcoholism

  • Family history of cataracts

  • Previous eye issues and surgeries

What is the treatment for cataracts?

The only treatment for cataracts is removal surgery. Fortunately, cataracts are curable and the procedure is very safe and has proven high level of success, with 9 out of 10 people seeing better after surgery. Surgery is typically only suggested if your cataracts are getting in the way of your everyday activities, such as reading and driving. Before surgery, you may also try home treatments such as the use of brighter lights, wearing anti-glare glasses, and using magnifying glasses. You can also try changing your prescription for your glasses or contacts to see if that helps.

You may also consider taking preventive measures to delay the development of cataracts. Always wear UV protected sunglasses to protect your eyes from too much sunlight, and consider even wearing a brimmed hat with your sunglasses for extra protection. You can also quit smoking, and begin eating healthy fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and collard greens.

How do I check for cataracts?

The only way to check for cataracts is through an eye exam with your optometrist or ophthalmologist . This is why it is so important to have an eye exam! During the exam, your doctor will dilate your pupils with eye drops and check your eyes for cataracts and other problems. The exam is simple and painless and comes at no worry or cause of concern to you. We recommend having a dilated eye exam every 2 years, especially if you are over the age of 60 years old.

An eye exam for cataracts at Carson Optical is your first step to eye health and your best vision. A family-owned company, our experts and optometrist are focused on treating you and your needs and value the importance of having one-on-one relationships with all our patients to best serve you. We offer a variety of services beyond cataract testing and can treat any problem you may have. Visit our website to schedule an appointment, or give us a call at (813) 681-3863!