Are Bilateral Cataracts?
of your eyes are normally clear. When they become cloudy and opaque, these are
called cataracts. Although cataracts don’t necessarily spread from one eye to
the other, they usually occur in both eyes (bilateral cataracts). The rate and
degree of development may vary between the two eyes.
is located behind the colored part of your eye (iris) and the pupil. The lens
helps to focus light. When you have a cataract, light is deflected or blocked
as it passes through the lens, blurring your vision. Cataracts tend to grow thicker
(or denser) over time, further impairing vision.
are often caused by aging, but can also be due to other health problems like diabetes. Surgery for
cataracts usually results in improved vision.
noticeable symptom associated with cataracts is blurred or cloudy vision. There’s
generally no pain. Other symptoms include:
- poor night vision
- glare or a halo effect around lights
- colors appear to be faded or yellowed
- double vision
- frequent need to change eyewear prescriptions
experiencing symptoms of cataracts, you should make an appointment to see your
Most of the
time, cataracts are the result of aging. It occurs most often in people over
age 60, although many cases are reported in people in their 40s and 50s. By age
75, about a third of
the population have developed cataracts that affect vision.
- family history of cataracts (congenital
- eye injury (traumatic cataracts), inflammation,
- prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- excessive alcohol consumption
- excessive exposure to sunlight
- exposure to radiation from X-rays or radiation
therapy (radiation cataracts)
the cause is unknown.
are usually diagnosed during an eye exam that may include:
- an eye chart that measures your distance vision
(visual acuity test)
- eye dilation exam to examine the back of your
- eye pressure measurement (tonometry)
- slit lamp exam to view eye structure and detect
in the early stages of cataracts, you may be able to improve your vision with
new eyeglasses, magnifying lenses, anti-glare lenses, or better lighting. It
might be advisable to avoid driving at night.
the most common treatment as cataracts progress, but there’s no need to rush.
Delaying surgery doesn’t make the condition harder to treat. Cataract surgery
is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States. It’s
usually done as an outpatient procedure, using a local anesthetic.
surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a plastic lens implant.
You won’t be able to feel the implant and it won’t require special care.
surgery, you may experience some minor discomfort, light sensitivity, itching,
or fluid discharge. These symptoms should go away in a few days.
who have bilateral cataracts, the surgery is usually performed on one eye at a
time, with the surgeries scheduled four to eight weeks apart.
Risks of Cataract Surgery
effects and risks are rare but include:
The risk of
retinal detachment only increases slightly with cataract surgery, especially if
you have other eye problems like nearsightedness, also known as myopia. If you
notice floaters in your field of vision following cataract surgery, this could
be a symptom of retinal detachment and is considered a medical emergency.
Contact your doctor right away.
percent of people who have cataract surgery report improved vision
to Prevent Cataracts
lifestyle choices can decrease your chances of developing cataracts. These
- avoiding direct sunlight and wearing sunglasses
- eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables,
fruits, and antioxidant-rich foods
- not smoking
- taking care of other health problems associated
with developing cataracts
should have their eyes checked regularly. Once you reach the age of 60, this
should include a dilated eye exam at least once every two years.