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Cataracts

Cataracts

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are clouding of the eye’s lens – the transparent tissue part of the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina, allowing us to see.

Cataracts affect sight by limiting the amount of light focused onto the retina, which creates blurry, cloudy or dim vision. Many people say that having cataracts is like looking through a dirty car windshield, or, in its most advanced stages, trying to see through waxed paper.

Dr. Parker is experienced with all types of cataract and lens implant surgeries. He has pioneered the combination of cataract surgery with corneal, glaucoma, diabetes and trauma surgery. (See, for example: “Combined trabeculectomy, cataract extraction, and foldable lens implantation,” Parker, et al., J of Cataract Refract. Surg. 1992 Nov;18(6):582-)

Yellowing vision due to cataracts shown on the left, normal vision shown on the right.

Yellowing vision due to cataracts shown on the left, normal vision shown on the right.

 

  • Causes of Cataracts
  • Symptoms of Cataracts
  • Are you at risk for Cataracts?
  • Diagnosis of Cataracts
  • Treatment of Cataracts
  • Lens Anatomy
  • Surgery Diagram

Cataracts are clouding of the eye’s lens, causing cloudy, blurred or even yellowing vision.

Cataracts are clouding of the eye’s lens, causing cloudy, blurred or even yellowing vision.

Cataracts are most often a symptom of aging. Eyes change throughout life, because the lens is made of skin cells, and skin cells grow.

However, cataracts can also be caused by other factors, including:

  • Chronic diseases, including diabetes
  • Eye injuries
  • Use or overuse of certain medications
  • Certain hereditary factors
  • Over-exposure to UV light
  • Other diseases of the eye, including glaucoma


Advanced cataracts cause significant clouding of the lens, impairing vision.

Advanced cataracts cause significant clouding of the lens, impairing vision.

Cataracts often appear gradually, making many symptoms difficult to notice or recognize. That’s why regular eye exams are important, especially as you age. If you begin to notice any of the symptoms of cataracts, call Parker Cornea to schedule an eye exam.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry, cloudy, fuzzy or dim vision
  • Glare (sometimes severe) from the sun or other sources of light
  • Increased sensitivity to light, particularly at night
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in low light
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Difficulty driving at night


By age 75, nearly 70 percent of people will have developed a cataract.

Risk factors for cataracts include:

  • Advanced age
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Extensive exposure to UV light (from the sun or tanning beds)
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Previous eye surgery

While there is no way to prevent cataracts, certain lifestyle choices may slow their development or progression.

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Wear UV-filtering sunglasses when outside.
  • Refrain from tanning bed use.
  • Keep diabetes under control.


Anterior and cross section of an eye, showing the position of the lens, the site of cataract formation.

Anterior and cross section of an eye, showing the position of the lens, the site of cataract formation.

As part of a complete eye examination, Parker Cornea will dilate your eyes (a procedure in which your pupil is relaxed with eye drops to allow us to see to the back of your eye) to check for cataracts.

Cataract testing is non-invasive. Using a slit lamp, we are able to see the lens to determine if cataracts are present. We will also perform a visual acuity test and glare test to check your vision and determine whether you have cataracts and whether or not they are visually significant.

During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is replaced with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens, or IOL.

During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is replaced with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens, or IOL.

While mild cataracts can be managed through a change in your eyeglass or contact lens prescription, the only proven treatment for functionally significant cataracts is cataract surgery. Learn more about the cataract surgery procedure here.

During his 24 years in medicine, Dr. John Parker has corrected the vision of many thousands of patients suffering from cataracts.

The lens is about the size of an M&M, and is located just behind the iris. The inside of the lens is made of skin cells and grows throughout life. Image © 2009 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The lens is about the size of an M&M®, and is located just behind the iris. The inside of the lens is made of skin cells and grows throughout life. Image © 2009 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

During cataract surgery, just the inside part of the lens is removed. Image © 2009 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

During cataract surgery, just the inside part of the lens is removed. Image © 2009 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.