Nearly 25 million Americans have cataracts, which is a clouding of the eye’s lens that causes a gradual loss of vision. The good news is they can be treated in a very common, safe surgical procedure that’s performed on an outpatient basis.
Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, is a leading provider of state-of-the-art cataract surgery in Jacksonville, Florida. Tailoring every surgery to the patient’s unique needs, Stephen Wolchok, MD, and our team help women and men improve their vision and quality of life. If you have cataracts, here's how we can help you.
Why cataracts happen
Your eye has lots of parts that work together to help you see. Located just behind your pupil, the clear lens of your eye helps bend or refract light as it enters your eye, focusing it on the light-sensitive retina. This data is then sent to your brain via your optic nerve.
A cataract happens when the clear lens grows cloudy, preventing light from reaching the retina. Cloudiness is caused by a buildup of protein clumps inside the lens. As the lens becomes cloudier, your vision becomes dimmer and dimmer.
Most cataracts happen as part of the eye’s aging process. Less commonly, a cataract can form as the result of trauma, and some cataracts can be present at birth, which are called congenital cataracts.
People who have cataracts often have certain symptoms, such as:
- Blurry, cloudy, or dim vision
- Increasing problems seeing at night
- Heightened sensitivity to bright lights
- Increasing need for more light for up-close tasks
Often, people who wear glasses or contacts need frequent prescription changes to accommodate the changes in their natural eye lens.
Restoring clear vision through cataract surgery
Cataracts don’t go away on their own. In fact, they continue to get worse until they eventually block vision in the affected eye. The only way to “fix” a cataract is with cataract surgery.
At Wolchok Eye Associates, Dr. Wolchok uses a special femtosecond laser to gently break apart and remove the clouded lens. Then he puts an artificial lens in its place. This lens is designed to bend light like a natural lens, so you can enjoy clear vision again.
Cataracts can occur in one eye, but they often affect both eyes. Our team typically recommends cataract surgery in one eye at a time, giving the treated eye time to heal before correcting the second cataract.
It’s important to remember that because cataracts grow very slowly, if you’ve just been diagnosed with a cataract, our team may not recommend surgery right away. Many patients delay surgery until the cataract causes problems with daily activities, such as driving or reading.
If you don’t have cataracts, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cloudy lenses.
First, you should do all you can to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays, including wearing sunglasses with UV protection. If you smoke, you should quit, because smoking can have a negative impact on your eye health and vision.
If you have diabetes, be vigilant about controlling your glucose levels, since your risk of developing cataracts is higher. Finally, you should have regular eye exams — especially as you get older — to look for changes in your eyes. Your provider may be able to spot issues even before they cause changes to your vision.
Learn more about cataract surgery
If eye surgery sounds scary, you have nothing to fear. Cataract surgery is safe and common. In fact, millions of Americans have the surgery every year. To learn more about cataract surgery with the state-of-the-art femtosecond laser, call 904-739-0606 or book an appointment online with Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, today.