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Eye Care at MMC-BD — Cataracts

240 CORPORATE DR \ BEAVER DAM WI 53916 \ 920-887-1151

Impacting Quality of Life

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision loss, and can be a natural part of the aging process. But cataracts don't have to affect your quality of life. Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam's experienced eye care specialists are experts in the care of cataracts.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's naturally clear lens. Your eye becomes like a window that is frosted or yellowed. If your vision has become cloudy or things you see are not as bright as they used to be, a cataract may have developed in one or both of your eyes.

What are Signs & Symptoms of Cataracts?

The only way to know if you have cataracts for certain is when your ophthalmologist does a dilated eye exam. Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. As a result, you may not immediately notice changes in your vision when cataracts first develop.

In time, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Painless clouded, blurry or dim vision
  • Increasing difficulty seeing at night or in low light 
  • Sensitivity to light and glare, seeing halos around lights 
  • Colors seem faded or yellowed
  • The need for brighter light for reading and other activities
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Double vision within one eye

What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts occur as part of the aging process, so everyone is at risk eventually. By age 75, about 70 percent of people will have cataracts. The eye's lens slowly becomes less flexible, less transparent, and thicker. Then areas of the lens become cloudy. Usually, cataracts develop in both eyes at about the same time.

These factors increase the risk of developing cataracts:

  • Advanced age
  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Previous eye injury or inflammation
  • Prolonged steroid use (especially combined use of oral and inhaled steroids)
  • Extensive exposure to sunlight

How Do You Prevent Cataracts?

Although cataracts have no scientifically proven prevention, it is sometimes said that wearing ultraviolet-protecting sunglasses may slow the development of cataracts. Regular intake of antioxidants (such as vitamins A, C, and E) is theoretically helpful, but taking them as a supplement has been shown to have no benefit.

The less well known antioxidant N-acetylcarnosine has been shown in randomized controlled clinical trials to treat cataracts and can be expected to prevent their formation by similar mechanisms. N-acetylcarnosine is a proposed treatment for other ocular disorders that are instigated, or exacerbated by oxidative stress including glaucoma, retinal degeneration, corneal disorders, and ocular inflammation.

Cataract surgery is generally a simple, outpatient procedure with little discomfort. The results are permanent, and the actual surgery can take only minutes. Most patients are back to their normal activities the very next day.

To find out if cataract surgery is right for you, call 920-887-1151