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The Gift of Sight

The Gift of Sight

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I have loved all things Christmas, especially the twinkling lights, since I was a little kid.  It amuses me still to this day to take my glasses off and watch all the tiny lights blur together into one dazzling abstract Christmas scene.  Leave it to an eye doctor to enjoy being Nearsighted.  Everyone sees the world differently.  What’s that phrase?  “Its all in the eye of the beholder…”.  That is quite literally true when it comes to your vision.  Subtle alterations to the structures in your eye have profound affects on your vision.  While not everyone will experience what its like to be nearsighted, everyone is eventually affected by the formation of cataracts. 

A cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye.  This process begins in your 40’s and matures over the next two decades.  The lens slowly oxidizes becoming yellow and cloudy.  The cataract scatters and diminishes the light reaching the retina.  Individuals may complain of blurred vision, night blindness, double vision, halos or glare.  In more advanced stages the individual may find it necessary to have more lights on in order to see well or avoid driving at night altogether

Really dense cataracts make the eye take on a milky appearance.  You are more likely to see this in a dog than in any individual.  This is because cataracts are typically removed before getting to this stage. Loss of vision caused by cataracts is reversible.  Blindness from cataracts is rare in the United States but extremely common in underdeveloped areas of the world.

Most cataracts are age related; however, some may be induced by certain medication, by trauma, by co-existing systemic disease, or are present from birth.   Cataracts that are not caused by age can from at any point in your life. These cataracts can develop rapidly and often cause more severe changes in your vision.  Uncontrolled Diabetes is the common culprit behind these types of cataracts followed closely by medications used to manage chronic pain.  Congenital cataracts or cataracts presenting in infancy can be sight threatening.  These cataracts can interfere with the normal development of the eye resulting in Amblyopia or a lazy eye.  Any infant suspected of having a congenital cataract should be seen by an Eye Care Professional as soon as possible. 

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To prevent loss of vision and regain normal function, cataracts are surgically removed.  Intraocular Implants are inserted at the time of surgery.  These perform two functions.  They maintain the division between anterior and posterior structures of your eye and they are able to correct for refractive error.   Which means you may no longer have to use glasses after cataract removal.  Different corrective lens options are available, including astigmatism, multifocal and mono vision.  Make sure you discuss at length which option is best for you.  What worked for your sister or your best friend may not be suitable for you. Give yourself the gift of sight this holiday season and the rest of 2020 year by getting a routine eye exam.  Happy Holidays to all and to all good sight.

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