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Can't See as Well as I Used to Anymore - Are My Eyes Deteriorating or is it Just Aging?

Did you ever have one of those moments that you realized that others around you could see something that you were straining to see or, worse yet, couldn't see? Our eyes are not like batteries, they don't wear-out by using them. So, as we age, our vision should not diminish unless something else is occurring. Assuming you are wearing your best eyeglass prescription or contact lens prescription what else could cause your vision to diminish?  

A clouding of the natural lens of your eye called cataract is a very common cause of diminished vision. Just behind the pupil and iris of your eye sits the natural lens of your eyes. These lenses help to focus incoming light and images onto the retina of your eyes. Cataracts may form at any age and we can be born with cataracts. 

What does a person experience with vision change due to cataracts? The most common vision changes are fuzzy or hazy vision or increased sensitivity to oncoming car headlights at night. Also sensitivity to glare produced by sunlight in the morning or later afternoon. Very commonly the vision changes are so slow and gradual that one may not even realize that their vision has diminished significantly until they start having trouble with common activities such as reading or driving. But the most common form of cataract is age-related and our chances of developing one increase with each passing year. In fact, if you live long enough you will develop a cataract as it is a normal change with aging, like wrinkles and gray hair! 

But fortunately, we are living at a time where cataract surgery has made their removal quick. Cataract surgery takes less than 15 minutes in the hands of an experienced surgeon and there is, in most cases, no stitches and no pain. Once a cataract is removed vision may be better than it has ever been and you may be much less dependent on glasses or not need them at all! A question often asked is can a cataract return? One in ten people who have had a cataract removed will develop what is called a "secondary cataract." A secondary cataract is a clouding of a membrane behind the pupil. It is easily and painlessly removed with a simple in-office laser procedure that takes seconds. So, as we age we may experience deteriorating vision but, in most cases, if caused by cataract, it may be restored to as good or better than you ever had. See your eye doctor on a yearly basis for the best sight possible. 

Dr Huggett

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