Important Questions about Cataracts

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Anthony S., Mar 15, 2004.

  1. Anthony S.

    Anthony S. Guest

    Hello to everyone, I feel guilty because I know people have
    probably written similar questions before, but here goes...
    I'm 25 and I recently went to get a new pair of glasses, and
    the technician told me that I was in the beginning stages of
    having cataracts. It really, really disturbed me, mainly
    because the only thing I knew about it was the fact that
    eventually it can cause blindness which frankly terrifies
    me. I am pretty ignorant on the whole issue of cataracts,
    and unfortunatly the optomtrist (sp?) didn't care to answer
    the questions I had because he was in such a rush. He was
    like, "Oh, everything's fine, you just have the start of a
    cataract on your eye." I've been searching the web, but I
    end up getting some fairly technical information about how
    cataracts come about, and things, but not a great deal of
    info on treatment, prevention, and when (or if) surgury is
    necessary. In other words, I'm lost and don't know how to
    handle the problem. Anyway, my point is just that I'd really
    like to hear from anyone with problems like this, as I have
    a lot of questions about the problem and don't know if
    there's anything to prevent the cataracts from growing, or
    get rid of them, etc. I just am scared and probably sound
    paranoid by worrying about it, but the thought of blindless
    has always scared me very, very much. Thank you _so_ much in
    advance for any information or thoughts you could offer. My
    e-mail is feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com , and anyone can feel
    free to message me. Thanks.

    Best wishes, Anthony
     
    Tags:


  2. in article b64f0c10.0403151218.11c5c8f0@posting.google.com, Anthony S. at
    feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com wrote on 3/15/04 12:18 PM:

    > I feel guilty because I know people have probably
    > written similar questions before, but here goes... I'm
    > 25 and I recently went to get a new pair of glasses, and
    > the technician told me that I was in the beginning
    > stages of having cataracts. It really, really disturbed
    > me, mainly because the only thing I knew about it was
    > the fact that eventually it can cause blindness which
    > frankly terrifies me.

    Do not rely upon a technician for such advice. See an
    ophthalmologixt or at least an optometrist for that kind of
    professional advice

    Bill.
     
  3. The Real Bev

    The Real Bev Guest

    Repeating Rifle wrote:
    >
    > in article
    > b64f0c10.0403151218.11c5c8f0@posting.google.com, Anthony
    > S. at feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com wrote on 3/15/04
    > 12:18 PM:
    >
    > > I feel guilty because I know people have probably
    > > written similar questions before, but here goes... I'm
    > > 25 and I recently went to get a new pair of glasses, and
    > > the technician told me that I was in the beginning
    > > stages of having cataracts. It really, really disturbed
    > > me, mainly because the only thing I knew about it was
    > > the fact that eventually it can cause blindness which
    > > frankly terrifies me.
    >
    > Do not rely upon a technician for such advice. See an
    > ophthalmologixt or at least an optometrist for that kind
    > of professional advice

    The diagnosis was made by an optometrist who was too busy to
    provide further information:

    > I am pretty ignorant on the whole issue of
    > cataracts, and unfortunatly the optomtrist (sp?)
    > didn't care to answer the questions I had because
    > he was in such a rush. He was like, "Oh,
    > everything's fine, you just have the start of a
    > cataract on your eye."

    An excellent reason to seek out a different optometrist next
    time he needs glasses. Professionals who are too busy to
    explain but have plenty of time to take your money shouldn't
    be encouraged.

    --
    Cheers, Bev
    =================================================================

    "The federal government has taken too much tax money from
    the people, too much authority from the states, and too much
    liberty with the Constitution." -- Ronald Reagan
     
  4. merle

    merle Guest

    On 15 Mar 2004 12:18:12 -0800, feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com (Anthony
    S.) wrote:

    >Hello to everyone, I feel guilty because I know people have
    >probably written similar questions before, but here goes...
    >I'm 25 and I recently went to get a new pair of glasses,
    >and the technician told me that I was in the beginning
    >stages of having cataracts. It really, really disturbed me,
    >mainly because the only thing I knew about it was the fact
    >that eventually it can cause blindness which frankly
    >terrifies me. I am pretty ignorant on the whole issue of
    >cataracts, and unfortunatly the optomtrist (sp?) didn't
    >care to answer the questions I had because he was in such a
    >rush. He was like, "Oh, everything's fine, you just have
    >the start of a cataract on your eye." I've been searching
    >the web, but I end up getting some fairly technical
    >information about how cataracts come about, and things, but
    >not a great deal of info on treatment, prevention, and when
    >(or if) surgury is necessary. In other words, I'm lost and
    >don't know how to handle the problem. Anyway, my point is
    >just that I'd really like to hear from anyone with problems
    >like this, as I have a lot of questions about the problem
    >and don't know if there's anything to prevent the cataracts
    >from growing, or get rid of them, etc. I just am scared and
    >probably sound paranoid by worrying about it, but the
    >thought of blindless has always scared me very, very much.
    >Thank you _so_ much in advance for any information or
    >thoughts you could offer. My e-mail is
    >feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com , and anyone can feel free to
    >message me. Thanks.
    >
    >Best wishes, Anthony

    If you just have the beginning of a cataract, then it's too
    early to do surgery. If you start having vision problems and
    they worsen quickly, go back to your optometrist and ask to
    have the cataract re-measured. They take them out when
    they've either grown to a certain size or are growing.

    It's a simple surgery. Takes about an hour and is most often
    done with laser now. They lift the cornea and remove the
    cataract. In my case, they implanted a lens in each eye and
    the moment I got off the table, my eyesight was improved.
    You have to put antibiotic drops in the eye several times a
    day for about a week to prevent infection. After six weeks,
    you can be measured for new eyeglass lenses. In some cases,
    vision will be improved enough that you won't need glasses.
     
  5. Dr Judy

    Dr Judy Guest

    "Anthony S." <feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:b64f0c10.0403151218.11c5c8f0@posting.google.com...
    > Hello to everyone, I feel guilty because I know people
    > have probably written similar questions before, but here
    > goes... I'm 25 and I recently went to get a new pair of
    > glasses, and the technician told me that I was in the
    > beginning stages of having cataracts. It really, really
    > disturbed me, mainly because the only thing I knew about
    > it was the fact that eventually it can cause blindness
    > which frankly terrifies me.

    Cataracts will not cause blindness. As it develops it will
    interfere with your vision to some degree and there is a
    good, safe and effective surgical cure when the vision
    declines to the point where you notice it. It take years,
    often decades, before vision is affected.

    > I am pretty ignorant on the whole issue of
    > cataracts, and unfortunatly the optomtrist (sp?)
    > didn't care to answer the questions I had because
    > he was in such a rush. He was like, "Oh,
    > everything's fine, you just have the start of a
    > cataract on your eye." I've been searching the
    > web, but I end up getting some fairly technical
    > information about how cataracts come about, and
    > things, but not a great deal of info on treatment,
    > prevention, and when (or if) surgury is necessary.
    > In other words, I'm lost and don't know how to
    > handle the problem.

    It is unfortunate that your optometrist did not discuss this
    with you. Make another appointment and tell them in advance
    that you are terrified of going blind from cataract and want
    to talk about catarct. Your doctor has an obligation to
    reassure you. If nothing else, from your reaction he will
    learn to instruct his techs to not mention cataract, he will
    learn to not mention it himself unless it is advanced enough
    to cause symptoms and he will learn that he needs to provide
    information to his patients when he does mention cataract.

    Surgery is done when the cataract affects your vision enough
    to justify the (small) risk of surgery. There is no known
    prevention or non surgical treatment. We do know that
    exposure to ultraviolet light is a cause: wear sunglasses
    always when outdoors. Trama and some medications can also
    cause cataract. You are relatively young to be developing
    cataract, it is possible you have a congenital problem.

    > Anyway, my point is just that I'd really like to hear
    > from anyone with problems like this, as I have a lot
    > of questions about the problem and don't know if
    > there's anything to prevent the cataracts from
    > growing, or get rid of them, etc. I just am scared
    > and probably sound paranoid by worrying about it, but
    > the thought of blindless has always scared me very,
    > very much.

    Please relax. It usually takes years before there is any
    vision loss and cataract surgery is one of the safest and
    most effective types of surgery there is.

    Dr Judy

    > Thank you _so_ much in advance for any information
    > or thoughts you could offer. My e-mail is
    > feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com , and anyone can feel
    > free to message me. Thanks.
    >
    > Best wishes, Anthony
     
  6. taurusrc

    taurusrc Guest

    I would go to an opthamologist and have an examination. A
    technician at the optometrist's office might be quite
    unqualified to give that diagnosis.

    I have had cataract surgery twice and it was almost a snap.
    Both of them required a minor procedure several months later
    but nothing to get upset about.

    Ora

    On 15 Mar 2004 12:18:12 -0800, feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com
    (Anthony S.) wrote:

    >Hello to everyone, I feel guilty because I know people have
    >probably written similar questions before, but here goes...
    >I'm 25 and I recently went to get a new pair of glasses,
    >and the technician told me that I was in the beginning
    >stages of having cataracts. It really, really disturbed me,
    >mainly because the only thing I knew about it was the fact
    >that eventually it can cause blindness which frankly
    >terrifies me. I am pretty ignorant on the whole issue of
    >cataracts, and unfortunatly the optomtrist (sp?) didn't
    >care to answer the questions I had because he was in such a
    >rush. He was like, "Oh, everything's fine, you just have
    >the start of a cataract on your eye." I've been searching
    >the web, but I end up getting some fairly technical
    >information about how cataracts come about, and things, but
    >not a great deal of info on treatment, prevention, and when
    >(or if) surgury is necessary. In other words, I'm lost and
    >don't know how to handle the problem. Anyway, my point is
    >just that I'd really like to hear from anyone with problems
    >like this, as I have a lot of questions about the problem
    >and don't know if there's anything to prevent the cataracts
    >from growing, or get rid of them, etc. I just am scared and
    >probably sound paranoid by worrying about it, but the
    >thought of blindless has always scared me very, very much.
    >Thank you _so_ much in advance for any information or
    >thoughts you could offer. My e-mail is
    >feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com , and anyone can feel free to
    >message me. Thanks.
    >
    >Best wishes, Anthony
     
  7. David Robins

    David Robins Guest

    Blindness means permanent eye damage that is irreversible.

    Cataracts do not cause blindness. They are easily removed,
    and having them in the eye in general causes no damage to
    the eye, just gradully increasing blurry vision and/or
    glare and fog.

    Surgery is low risk (but never zero risk).

    If you have cataracts at age 25, either you have a family
    history of early age cataracts, or you have a medical
    condition that can cause catracts, or, more likely, you have
    some lens opacity from infancy that is being incorrectly
    interpreted as cataracts.

    I'd see an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) to help try to put
    this to rest.

    David Robins, MD Board certified Ophthalmologist Pediatric
    and strabismus subspecialty Member of AAPOS (American
    Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus)

    > On 15 Mar 2004 12:18:12 -0800,
    > feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com (Anthony S.) wrote:
    >
    >> Hello to everyone, I feel guilty because I know people
    >> have probably written similar questions before, but here
    >> goes... I'm 25 and I recently went to get a new pair of
    >> glasses, and the technician told me that I was in the
    >> beginning stages of having cataracts. It really, really
    >> disturbed me, mainly because the only thing I knew about
    >> it was the fact that eventually it can cause blindness
    >> which frankly terrifies me.
     
  8. Dan Abel

    Dan Abel Guest

    In article <b64f0c10.0403151218.11c5c8f0@posting.google.com>,
    feelslikehomeagain@yahoo.com (Anthony S.) wrote:

    > Anyway, my point is just that I'd really like to hear
    > from anyone with problems like this, as I have a lot
    > of questions about the problem and don't know if
    > there's anything to prevent the cataracts from
    > growing, or get rid of them, etc. I just am scared
    > and probably sound paranoid by worrying about it, but
    > the thought of blindless has always scared me very,
    > very much.

    YOU WON'T GO BLIND!!!

    Now that that is out of the way, you should go visit an
    opthamologist and get examined for this. There's nothing you
    can do for it, other than to have it removed. The doctor
    won't remove it until your vision gets worse than a certain
    point (but you'll still be able to see pretty well). You
    might well get one eye fixed, and the other later (if you
    have it in both eyes).

    I've had the surgery done in both eyes, and I'm 54. The
    surgery is very minor, and the last time I was in and out in
    a little over 2 hours. The surgery was done in the eye
    clinic (a mini-operating room) under local anaesthetic.

    About a million of these surgeries are done every year in
    the US. Many people get these as they get older.

    --
    Dan Abel Sonoma State University AIS dabel@sonic.net
     
  9. First thing: relax. Cataract is not a big deal these days.
    Almost no one with access to health care goes blind from it,
    and you probably have months or years to consider the
    options. Second thing: consult an ophthalmologist and get
    all our questions answered. In the meantime...

    Boilerplate about cataracts, IOLs, and surgery

    I write as a near-sighted layman (not a doctor) who has had
    cataract surgery in both eyes with intra-ocular lenses (IOL)
    implanted in both eyes, and vision corrected with glasses to
    better than
    20/20. What follows are my own opinions. Always consult and
    rely upon medical professionals for diagnosis,
    advice, and treatment.

    I. Preventing cataracts
    II. Reversing cataracts
    III. Cataract removal and IOL implant surgery
    IV. What type, brand and diameter of IOL?
    V. What's the best focus distance?

    VI. Preventing cataracts

    There is evidence that the following can slow the
    development of cataracts:

    1. Avoid exposure to UV and IR light: wear a brimmed hat,
    visor or protective glasses when in Sunlight for more
    than a few minutes, and if you work around furnaces or
    kilns always wear protective glasses.
    2. Lose weight.
    3. Stop smoking.
    4. Reduce consumption of diuretics (e.g., caffeine).
    5. Stay well hydrated (drink plenty of water).
    6. Get a full MDA ("Minimum Daily Amount", previously called
    RDA, "Recommended Daily Amount") of anti-oxidants
    (vitamins C and E, and the mineral zinc). It's best to
    get these from food. Getting them in supplements is
    better than not getting enough, but don't take much more
    than an MDA of any of these as supplements without the
    advice of a doctor.
    7. Eat lots of strongly-colored vegetables (eg., spinach)
    and fruits (eg., blueberries). Extracts of these may be
    of some help. This should also help reduce the chances of
    macular degeneration, a serious disease of retinas which
    can cause blindness.
    8. Wear protective goggles during sports or labor, to help
    prevent eye injuries. Mechanical trauma to the lens can
    initiate a cataract or accelerate the development of a
    pre-existing cataract. (Eye surgeries can also do this,
    but often it is a necessary risk and cannot be avoided.)

    II. Reversing cataracts

    There is no known way to reverse or clear up a cataract
    using ultrasound, lasers, medicines, etc. Doing that would
    be like un-cooking a hard-boiled egg.

    III. Cataract removal and IOL implant surgery

    A. Get opinions from two or three ophthalmological
    surgeons early, before the cataract advances very far.
    See whether they largely agree on the diagnosis,
    compare their recommended course of treatment, and
    compare their manner of dealing with you as a patient.
    Have the surgeons measure your eye for fitting an IOL.
    Accurate measurements are needed to select the right
    IOL to get the desired focal distance. (As the
    cataract progresses it can get more difficult to
    accurately measure the length of your eye, so the
    earlier this measurement is done, the better.)

    B. Choose a surgeon who comes well-recommended and who
    does a lot of these surgeries. There's no subsitiute
    for practice. But also avoid anyone who appears to be
    a "cataract mill", pumping patients through as fast as
    they can without much explanation of the procedure and
    its side-effects or without answering all questions to
    the patients' satisfaction. In other words:

    C. Get all of your questions answered. Press the surgeon
    on possible side effects such as retinal detachment
    (which is more likely if you are very nearsighted),
    capsule opacification, floaters, astigmatism, "photic
    phenomena" (for example, momentary flickering arcs of
    light caused by reflections inside the IOL, haloes,
    and unclear vision at night); post-operative care and
    medications; and so on. Especially, discuss the type
    and diameter of IOL to be used and what focal distance
    you want from the IOL. More on these below.

    CI. Taking into account your surgeon's advice for your own
    case, consider waiting as long as possible before
    actually having the surgery. This will make the
    limitations of IOLs less objectionable and their
    benefits more welcome. (That may sound like some goofy
    mind game, but studies show it does help to improve
    satisfaction with the result. My own experience
    supports this.) But don't wait so long that you start
    giving up routine activities, and expecially not that
    you become a danger to yourself or others. For
    example, if you can't see well enough to drive, then
    it's time for surgery. Also, waiting a long time
    allows the cataract to become "ripe", which can make
    it more difficult to remove and more difficult to
    correctly fit the IOL. (There is some variation in how
    the term "ripe" is used. Some use it to mean "it's now
    time to remove the cataract". Others use it to mean
    "completely opaque and hard", which would usually be
    long past the best time to remove the cataract.)

    CII. What type, brand and diameter of IOL?

    This is important because some are much less likely to
    cause "capsule opacification" than are others. Capsule
    opacification is a sort of secondary cataract that may
    appear within a year of IOL surgery. It can usually be
    burned away with a laser as an in-office (non surgical)
    procedure, but it's probably better to avoid it if you
    can. If your surgeon insists that all types of IOL have
    the same risk of causing capsule opacification, get
    another surgeon.

    The diameter of the IOL can affect your final vision. Your
    natural lens is larger (up to 12mm) than your largest
    dilated pupil (up to 8mm in young eyes, decreasing to as
    little as 4mm in old eyes), so that no out-of-focus light
    "sneaks" around your lens in very dim light. Ideally, the
    IOL would be just as large as your natural lens, but
    unfortunately IOLs have to be smaller than your natural
    lens. There are two reasons for this: the IOL includes
    support structures ("haptics") which must also fit into
    the same capsule which held your natural lens; this leaves
    less room for the actual lens portion of the IOL, which
    therefore must be smaller than your natural lens. Also, a
    smaller IOL can be inserted through a smaller surgical
    incision; a smaller incision usually heals faster and
    leaves you with less astigmatism than would a larger
    incision. Be sure to discuss the trade-offs of larger
    versus smaller IOLs with your surgeon in advance. If you
    are relatively young (under 40) and if you need better
    night vision, ask about getting a larger diameter IOL.

    CIII. What's the best focus distance?

    Most existing IOLs will give you one fixed focus distance.
    Some existing IOLs are "multifocus" in the sense that they
    give you one fixed focus distance for one part of your
    field of view, and another fixed focus distance in another
    part of your field of view. For both types, the fixed
    focus distance does not change as you look around, and you
    cannot "will" the focus distance to change. Most people
    choose an IOL with a single focus distance. From what I've
    read some people who get "multifocus" IOLs are not very
    happy with them. True adaptive-focus IOLs which work like
    the lens you were born with may be available in the
    future, but they are probably years away.

    Some surgeons will assume that your "dominant" eye should
    be fixed at "infinity" (more than about 6 feet) and that
    your "non-dominant" eye should be fixed at reading
    distance (about 18 inches). If you have been very
    nearsighted or farsighted all of our life that may not be
    the best choice, especially if you get an IOL in only one
    eye at a time or if you do not have one strongly dominant
    eye. If possible work with an optometrist to simulate the
    effect of a particular choice of focal distance (or
    distances, one for each eye) before surgery. This can
    often be done with disposable soft contacts, which are
    very comfortable. You may find that you don't like or
    can't tolerate the first choice of focus distance. Or, you
    may find that you can't tolerate having different focus
    distances in each eye, because this causes the image sizes
    in each eye to differ. (When I had only one IOL I found
    that I could not tolerate any image size difference, but
    that was easily corrected by using a contact lens in the
    non-IOL eye. When I got the IOL in my other eye it was
    targetted for the same focus distance as my first IOL to
    give the same image size and focus distance, and so
    obviate the need for the contact lens.)

    Because of unavoidable uncertainties in measuring eyes, it
    is hard to predict the exact actual focus distance that
    will result from an IOL. If the intended focus distance is
    roughly reading distance (anything from one to three
    feet), that uncertainty will cause at most a few inches
    shift away from the desired focus distance. You will be
    slightly nearsighted, but you will be in focus at some
    particular distance in that range without glasses (unless
    you need glasses anyway to correct astigmatism). If,
    however, the intended focus distance is infinity
    ("emmetropia") the uncertainty amounts to about plus-or-
    minus three feet. That leaves about one chance in two that
    you will be made farsighted, and in that case you will
    always need glasses to see clearly at *any* distance.
     

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