Cataract occurs when the lens inside of your eye becomes cloudy due to proteins in the lens breaking down and obstructing your vision. There are various causes for this condition, but the most common is age. Cataract is so common above the age of 60 that approximately half of the American population age 80 or above have cataracts or have had it removed surgically.
Cataract usually begins as a very mild, and sometimes unnoticeable, condition. However over time, cataract begins to affect daily functions and lifestyle and that is usually the indication that it is time to be treated. There is a very safe and effective surgery that removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens which provides clear vision. However, there are people who are not eligible to get the operation as it depends on your medical history, what stage of cataract you have and many other factors. If you notice a decrease in the quality of your vision which is affecting your daily living, please schedule an appointment so that your eye doctor can check the health of your eye and if you have developed cataract. You will be assessed if surgery is the right option for you. If you are not eligible for cataract surgery, there is no reason to despair. There is an entire field called low vision that can help you function using your vision that remains.
Low vision is a field devoted to finding solutions despite a visual impairment that is creating obstacles in the way you live your day to day life. When you visit an optometrist for a low vision eye exam, the optometrist will do a special eye exam that evaluates your remaining vision. You will discuss together which visual tasks you are finding challenging and they will then work with you to find solutions that will enable you to accomplish what you set out to do.
There are a variety of visual aids that can be extremely useful to help you see despite your cataract diagnosis. If you have a family member or caretaker who is instrumental in helping you with your daily needs, it is highly recommended that they attend the appointment as well. It will give them the opportunity to learn more about your visual impairment so that they can understand how it impacts you functionally, enabling them to support you more effectively.
There are characteristic visual impairments caused by cataract which make performing visual tasks very challenging, some include:
All of these visual challenges can make it very difficult for a person with cataract to function and accomplish tasks like they used to, prior to developing cataract. The field of low vision offers many solutions and visual aids to allow a person with cataract to reclaim their independence.
After the low vision eye exam, a low vision optometrist will discuss various professional solutions with you using low vision aids. The visual aids range from simple household products, to special glasses and electronic devices. There are so many possibilities of low vision aids that can help you increase your quality of life and some examples will be discussed here.
There are many different types of magnifying glasses, such as handheld, standing or spectacle form and they can assist you to zoom in on what you’re trying to read or work on so that you can see better. There are filters which can improve vision for a person with cataract by increasing contrast sensitivity and reducing glare. Even people who were able to undergo cataract surgery can still suffer from glare and special polarizing filters can help fix that. E-scoop glasses are a wonderful low vision aid for people who have early stage cataract as it includes many optical features that can help you reclaim your independence despite the vision loss you are experiencing.
A device called a CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) has been created to enable you to scan what you’re trying to read onto a screen and it enlarges the text and can provide various features, including better contrast, to help you see better. There are companies inventing cutting edge technology, each offering their own unique visual experience which enhances your vision and some of these include OrCam, IrisVision or eSight, just to name a few. In addition to the visual aids, properly adjusting the lighting in your home under the guidance of a professional low vision optometrist can really make an impact on how you see. Additionally, there are some simple assistive tools, such as placing rubbery adhesive bumps, known as tactile dots, on different flat buttons around your home to help you find the buttons easier.
In order to understand how low vision can change lives for the better after being diagnosed with cataract, it is essential to understand this eye condition and to know what to look out for. Learn more about the different kinds of cataract.
Cataract is a common eye condition which causes the transparent lens inside of your eye to turn cloudy, preventing clear vision. It is the leading cause for blindness worldwide, however there is an entire field of low vision dedicated to improving your quality of life by making visual tasks easier, despite your cataract diagnosis. You can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit to schedule a low vision exam. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.