Frequently Asked Questions
What is cataract?
A cataract is a cloudiness that develops, due to changes in the lens fibers, in the normally clear lens of the eye. This cloudiness usually worsens until it scatters or blocks the light trying to enter the eye, causing vision to become dim, blurry and distorted. The word cataract means white water falling because it is like looking through white, frothy water. There are several different types of cataracts, most of which can be specifically associated with a particular event. The most common types of cataracts usually result from one of the following:
- Aging-natural changes in the lens fibers that happen during the normal aging process
- Injury-a severe blow or deep cut to the eye
- Birth defect-abnormal conditions in the eyes of unborn babies
- Harmful factors-disease, radiation, toxic chemicals, certain medications and too much exposure to ultraviolet light
Everyone will eventually develop cataracts if they live long enough and this "age-related" type of cataract is by far the most common type seen clinically.
Dr. Rudser will usually discover developing cataracts in the course of routine eye exams. In the early stages of a developing cataract, vision may be improved with glasses, magnifying lenses or more lighting. Most cataracts develop slowly over time and may take several years before seriously affecting a person's vision and daily activities. At some point though, the vision will not be good enough to see to do the daily activities that the patient would like to and new lenses will not help the vision become clearer. When a patient reaches this point cataract surgery is the next step to achieving clearer vision and Dr. Rudser will refer the patient to a local ophthalmologist who specializes in cataract surgery. Although Dr. Rudser does not do the surgery herself, she will do the pre and post operative eye exams.
Visual perception photos above of ocular disease come from the NIH website.