June is Cataract Awareness Month


Thursday, 6/14/2012 6:42:00 AM  | Amanda Bass                

Good morning!  So…let’s start this blog with a question.  Can you name one of the four leading causes of blindness worldwide?  If you guessed cataracts, you’d be right…and speaking of cataracts, June happens to be “Cataract Awareness Month”. (incidentally, we’ll talk about the other causes of blindness in future discussions)
So, what exactly are cataracts?  We are all born with lenses inside our eyes that help us to focus and see things clearly.  Everyone gets a clouding of this lens around 50 years of age which progresses to varying degrees over time and can decrease vision.  Symptoms such as blurred vision in dim light and halos or glare at night are common.  Oftentimes these symptoms worsen and the cataracts need to be removed. In the early stages there are few symptoms so people gradually lose their vision and many are unaware of this which is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology (http://www.aao.org/) recommends an annual eye examination for everyone 50 years of age and older. 
When necessary, cataract surgery is a remarkable procedure with incredible technological advances in recent years.  It is a brief, painless out-patient procedure that is effective in restoring vision with rapid recovery and return to normal activities.  We routinely use the “no-stitch, no patch” technique which patients prefer.   All insurance companies cover the costs of cataract surgery.
Everyone gets an implant (called an intraocular lens or IOL) with cataract surgery.  The newer multifocal lenses are a real breakthrough in IOL technology and go by names such as ReSTOR, Acrysof Toric and Tecnis Multifocal.   They can be thought of as internal bifocal (multifocal) lenses that allow many to realize their dreams of not needing glasses to see at distance or to read after cataract surgery.  (see http://www.alabamavisioncenter.com/ for more detailed information on cataract surgery and IOL options).
We are currently involved in several FDA IOL studies that hopefully will lead to improvements in already excellent technologies.
For more information on cataracts than you could possibly imagine, also visit http://www.eyesmart.org/
Have a great week!

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