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A cataract is a clouding of the internal focusing lens inside the eye, which is normally clear in youth, gradually developing density over a lifetime. Cataracts typically do not cause visual difficulty until a person's late 60's or beyond.
Cataracts develop because of a natural aging process in the lens itself If we all live long enough, we will most likely develop cataracts. Ultraviolet (UV) exposure may play a role, but otherwise we aren't completely certain of the cause. Some cataracts occur in younger people because of direct trauma to the eye (such as getting hit in the eye with a hard ball), genetic conditions, or occasionally vitamin deficiencies. Wearing sunglasses in bright sunlight and eating healthy foods are suggested for everyone.
Early on, cataract symptoms can be very mild. Many people first notice a distracting glare from oncoming headlights when they drive at night. It may require more and more light to comfortably read, even while wearing glasses. Some people notice that television captions become increasingly difficult to read.
|Normal Vision||Vision with Cataracts|
A healthy, clear lens focuses light directly onto the retina, causing a crisp, clear image to be seen.
A cloudy, cataractous lens scatters light, only partially hitting the retina, causing a hazy image to be seen.
Sometimes they do. During a routine complete eye examination, we evaluate vision and the total health of the eye, also screening for other disorders like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes. This allows us to determine whether a change in glasses would provide a significant improvement in vision. However, when cataracts become dense enough, even new glasses will not help because the eye is seeing through a cloudy internal lens that cannot be corrected with glasses.
Wearing ultraviolet (UV) protecting sunglasses may help reduce the progression of cataract. It is worthwhile for most people to investing in a good quality pair of sunglasses, which need not be very expensive. In addition, a balanced diet containing a reasonable amount of antioxidant vitamins may help prevent cataracts, while supporting overall health.
Generally, cataracts progress at about the same rate in both eyes, however many people seem to notice cataract symptoms in one eye first. During an examination, we can determine whether any other conditions such as macular degeneration are also contributing to difficulty with vision.
We no longer recommend surgery when a cataract is "ripe", which is a very dense cataract. Rather, the decision for surgery is based on when visual difficulties begin to interfere with normal activities of daily living, like driving, reading, work, or hobbies.
As always, Harvard Eye is first and foremost concerned about what is best for each individual patient. Call us today for your personalized consultation!
Harvard Eye Associates
Laguna Hills Office
Map and Directions
24401 Calle de la Louisa
Laguna Hills, California 92653
Harvard Eye Associates
San Clemente Office
Map and Directions
665 Camino de los Mares
San Clemente, California 92673
The eye doctors of Harvard Eye Associates perform advanced technology diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to provide each patient with information needed to fully understand his or her condition and to achieve the best possible visual outcome.
If you or a family member or friend have not had a recent routine eye examination, have a specific eye condition that needs addressing, or are looking for an eye specialist, second opinion, or professional eye consultant please take a moment to Request an Appointment.
New techniques or improvements in a current technique are occasionally introduced to the medical world.
Harvard Eye Associates is a FDA clinical research study center for emerging technology. This great honor makes it possible for us to offer qualifying patients access to advancements in eye care not yet available to the general public.
Click below to see how you may benefit.
If you have questions about your eyes, Harvard Eye Associates is here with the information you need.
We've dedicated sections of our website expressly to list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, covering cataract surgery, glaucoma, retina, LASIK, macular degeneration, dry eyes and more, plus an online form where you may submit questions directly to an eye doctor.
Please click below to have your questions about vision answered.
Internationally regarded as the go-to specialist in eye care, Harvard Eye offers a combined experience of over 100 years and over 100,000 surgical procedures. The doctors of Harvard Eye Associates have treated virtually every known eye condition there is, plus a few previously unknown.
Whether you or a loved one are having a first eye exam, a repeat eye exam, or are seeing a new eye doctor at Harvard Eye for the first time, there are a number of routine questions you can expect.
Your answers to these questions during eye exams are anything but routine for your eye doctor, so you may want to arrive prepared.
Read testimonials and watch videos of actual Harvard Eye Associates patients who have benefited from our professionalism, dedication, and commitment to high quality patient care.
Our offices provide patients with all eye care needs from routine eye exams to complex surgical procedures.
We are both proud and grateful that our patients have chosen to trust their vision with Harvard Eye!
Volunteer work is extremely important to Harvard Eye Associates. Twice yearly, we travel the world to teach and perform surgery to people who have no other resources, and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to providing medical training and supplies to developing countries.