If you are experiencing blurred vision, you may be at the start of a cataract condition in your eyes. Dr. Paul C. Kang - Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery, Eye Doctors of Washington - shares insights on common questions about cataracts.
WF: How would you know if you are getting a cataract?… are there symptoms one should know in order to obtain an eye exam?
Dr. Kang: Usually people complain of needing more light. Dim light reading may be an issue. People also commonly complain of problems with night driving and reading fine print. Cataracts happen very slowly and gradually over time. As a result, patients do not often recognize that they have cataracts. For this reason the recommendation is that all people over the age of 50 see their ophthalmologist once a year for cataract screening and screening of other eye diseases.
WF: Does a cataract always get worse with time?
Dr. Kang: Yes. Cataracts are a result of a protein change that happens in the natural lens. Everyone will eventually get cataracts (it is like getting gray hair.) However, because cataracts are not life threatening like cancer, we do not need to remove them until the patient is bothered by the symptoms.
WF: What are preventive measures one can take to avoid cataracts or are they hereditary?
Dr. Kang: The most common form of cataracts comes with growing older. I tell patients if we are fortunate to live long enough we will all develop cataracts. However, cataracts can be hastened by diabetes and the use of some medications (for example corticosteroids). Normal healthy living, use of sunglasses while outside, and routine annual eye exams is what is recommended for maintenance of ocular health.
To learn more about cataracts, visit edow.com.