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A Patient's Guide to Cataracts

A cataract is an area of cloudiness on the lens of an eye. The eye’s lens is essential for transferring and focusing light rays on the retina in order to produce images. When the lens becomes cloudy, vision is obscured. It’s important to see an ophthalmologist for regular check-ups so he or she can detect these issues early. Keep reading for an overview of cataracts and how they can be treated.

Mark Hornfeld, DO, Ophthalmologist

Possible Causes and Risk Factors

Cataracts are often the result of the natural aging process. Over the years, the tissue of the lens is susceptible to protein clumping and tinting. Cloudiness can occur because of an injury or a genetic condition. Other risk factors for cataracts include obesity, exposure to ionizing radiation, excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive sunlight exposure, and prolonged use of corticosteroid drugs. Other risk factors may include a previous eye injury or surgery, tobacco use, and high blood pressure.

Typical Symptoms

Cataracts develop gradually, so you may not notice symptoms right away. Over time, you might have problems seeing clearly at night, or you might start seeing “halos” around light sources. You might also require more frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription and your vision will become cloudy, dim, or blurred, or your eyes may become more sensitive to light.

Treatment Options

If you notice any changes in your vision, see your ophthalmologist right away. If the cataract doesn’t appear to be severe, you might initially try lifestyle modifications, such as wearing anti-glare sunglasses. If your vision is more significantly compromised, you may require cataract surgery, during which your natural lens will be replaced with an intraocular lens implant (IOL).

If you’ve noticed any possible symptoms of a cataract, schedule an appointment with Dr. Mark Hornfeld. Call our NYC practice at (646) 502-4142 with any questions. Dr. Hornfeld has a wealth of experience successfully performing cataract surgery.