What is a cataract?
A cataract is when the normally clear lens within your eye becomes cloudy and opaque. Cataracts can vary from small areas of cloudiness to larger opaque areas that cause a noticeable blurring of vision. Cataracts develop without any pain or redness but do have symptoms which may include:
- Blurred or hazy vision that cannot be corrected by changing the glasses prescription
- The feeling of having a film over the eyes that does not disappear when blinking
- A change in distance and/or near vision
- Increased sensitivity to glare, especially at night when driving
Cataracts are normally a function of aging and are most common in people over the age of 60. Occasionally they are found in younger people, including newborns. If you or a family member is in need of cataract care in Aurora, speak to us at Bayview North Optometry today.
Risk factors for cataracts
A cataract is usually the result of aging changes occurring within the eye that cause the clear lens to become cloudy and discoloured. By the time you reach 60, you will probably have some degree of clouding although your vision may not be impaired.
Some other risk factors for the development of cataracts include:
- Family history of cataracts at a young age
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays (sunlight)
- Exposure to radiation such as cancer therapy
- Certain medications
- Previous eye injury or eye surgery
Treatment for cataracts
In the early stages of a cataract, where vision is only minimally affected, prescribing new glasses to give you the sharpest vision possible is usually done. When a change in glasses prescription can no longer provide functional vision and the cataract is starting to interfere with your daily activities, then a consultation with a cataract surgeon can be arranged. A cataract needs to be removed only when your vision loss interferes with your everyday activities such as working, driving, reading, or watching television. Your optometrist will help you make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right for you.
Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure to remove the cloudy lens from the eye and replace it with a clear implant. With current technology, many options exist for cataract surgery and the implants used. Latest technology cataract surgery can be done with lasers during the key steps of the surgery making for a safer surgery and improved visual outcome. Implants are now available can correct astigmatism, and reduce the dependency on reading glasses. Your optometrist will help you determine what the best options are for you.
What does cataract surgery cost?
Most of the cost related to having cataract surgery is covered in Ontario by OHIP. There may be additional charges for more advanced implants or measurement techniques for surgery - the cataract surgeon will discuss these with you. Currently, the most advanced cataract surgery technique being performed is called laser assisted cataract surgery. Typically, the laser assisted cataract surgery is being performed in private clinics with no reimbursement from the government (the patient is responsible for paying all the fees related to the surgery and implant).
If you are interested in laser assisted cataract surgery, ask your optometrist or call us at Bayview North Optometry for cataract care in Aurora today.