Sparkle Like Diamonds
To see, light passes through a crystalline lens which focuses an image on the back of the eye. This image is then transported through a bundle of nerve fibers to the brain. Over time, or due to traumatic circumstances, the lens can begin to break down and become cloudy. The degradation and opacification of this lens is known as a cataract.
Give me your worst
As cataracts progress, the crystalline lens focuses light differently, and images no longer properly reach the back of the eye. In addition, cataracts often turn the lens a gray, yellow, or brown color. The effect is just like trying to look through a foggy morning or a dirty window. The resulting image is difficult to see clearly, and colors are often muted.
If that wasn’t enough, cataracts come with additional symptoms that can make life more difficult. Depending on how a cataractous lens tries to focus light, the resulting image can reach the brain twice. This creates double vision and leaves patients guessing which object is the correct one. The disease can also intensify the brightness of a light source, be that light from a lamp or oncoming traffic.
Right on the nose
There aren’t many effective ways to treat cataracts, but patients can look to prescription glasses to help alleviate symptoms. Since the disease causes light to enter the crystalline lens in strange ways, that light may go where intended. An eye specialist can analyze changes caused by cataracts and prescribe a new pair of glasses to solve the discrepancy. If a cataract is still small, these new glasses may be all that’s needed to see clearly enough to function.
To combat sensitivity to light, a pair of prescription sunglasses can offer a reprieve. These sunglasses can help to see clearly while reducing the amount of glare. For issues with double vision, a prism can be placed on glasses to recombine two images into one.
Sometimes it’s just not enough
Prescription glasses may serve as a solution for months or even years. However, cataracts will continue to grow over time and may require frequent prescription changes. The disease will eventually reach the point where glasses are no longer effective. An eye surgeon may not recommend new glasses if cataracts are bad enough to warrant surgery.
The final answer
The only permanent solution to cataracts comes by way of surgery. Through this process, the ophthalmologist will remove the cataract and implant an artificial lens. This artificial lens has a prescription and works like the crystalline lens once did to properly focus light. As a result, patients may even have less reliance on glasses after surgery than before.