Cataracts are often only thought of as an “old person” affliction. The overwhelming majority of patients with cataracts are over the age of 60. The risk of developing cataracts only gets higher as you get older.
But you can also develop them earlier. This can be from environmental factors like exposure to radiation or injuries to the eye, or genetics. They can also develop as a symptom of another condition like diabetes.
They can even occur as a side effect of certain medications like steroids. In some cases, you could even be born with cataracts.
But can you be too young for cataract surgery? Keep reading to learn more!
How Removing Cataracts Works
No matter what age you start developing cataracts, removing them is the same. There’s no such thing as being too young for cataract surgery, either. To remove cataracts, the lenses that they are affecting have to be completely removed.
This is done by first opening the cornea (typically using a laser). The corneal tissue has a flap cut into it, left attached by a small amount.
The surgeon can access the lens through the opening with a small instrument called a phaco probe. This device is capable of emitting high-frequency sound waves.
The sound waves can safely break apart the lens inside the eye. The pieces of the lens can then be gently extracted through the opening.
The lens of the eye is necessary to see, which is why an IOL (intraocular lens) takes its place.
IOLs come in several different forms. The most basic IOL option is called a monofocal IOL. This lens is less powerful than your natural lens.
It is only capable of correcting your vision at a single distance. With a monfocal IOL, patients need to use reading glasses to see for up-close activities.
Many people prefer premium IOLs. While they are more expensive, they come with significant benefits. They allow you to see both at a distance and closeup.
It is often the case that people who have had poor eyesight their whole lives no longer need glasses! There are a few different kinds of premium IOLs, and they all offer different options.
Multifocal IOLs correct vision in a way that’s like how bifocal glasses do. The difference that they are implanted in your eyes. The change of focal distance is due to different powered zones in the IOL itself.
Accommodating IOLs change focal distance by moving inside of your eye, like how your natural lens moves. This makes switching between distance vision and near vision a bit smoother.
Toric IOLs are custom fit for people with astigmatism. Toric IOLs are the only IOL specifically designed for those with astigmatism.
Aspheric IOLs are the only IOLs shaped to more closely resemble the natural lens. This can reduce instances of certain vision aberrations that can occur in symmetrically designed IOLs.
No matter what IOL you decide on, you can count on the doctors of Westlake Eye Specialists. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have about the differences between IOLs. It’s important to have enough information to make an informed choice.
Think that cataract surgery may be in your future? Schedule a cataract screening at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX now!