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Answers to 10 Frequently Asked Cataract Questions for Boulder Seniors

July 21st, 2016

What Boulder Seniors Need to Know about Cataracts

Boulder Seniors have about Cataracts

Cataracts affect practically everyone over the age of 75. Even though they are common, they can still be challenging to navigate. Progressive vision loss can be a scary and uncomfortable experience for a parent or grandparent. Arming yourself as a Boulder/Broomfield senior with information about cataracts is one great way to help your loved one. For instance, did you know that most cataracts can be treated with a common one-hour surgery? Keep reading for more helpful insights.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, affecting vision. Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes and can spread from one eye to the other.
What causes cataracts?
Cataracts are most common in, but not exclusive to, the elderly. As we age, the proteins that form the lens of the eye may start to clump, creating blurriness. Researchers have identified several possible causes of this clumping, including smoking, diabetes, and simple wear and tear.
What are common cataract symptoms?
Common cataract symptoms include blurred vision, double vision, poor night vision, glare, and faded colors. These may also indicate other vision problems, so always consult an eye care professional to be sure.
When do cataracts typically set in?
Cataracts develop slowly over time: they most commonly affect individuals over age 50, impact roughly half the population over age 65, and are present in practically everyone over age 75. As noted below, however, they are not exclusive to the elderly.
Are all cataracts the same?
Age-related cataracts are the most common type, but there are several others:

  • Secondary cataracts can develop as a result of eye surgery (such as for glaucoma) as well as diabetes and steroid use.
  • Congenital cataracts affect infants and may be hereditary or result from the mother having German measles or another infectious disease during pregnancy.
  • Traumatic cataracts can occur after an eye injury, even years later.
  • Radiation cataracts can result after exposure to radiation.

Are cataracts reversible?
Yes, in the early stages, anti-glare glasses, magnifying lenses, and brighter lighting all help ease the symptoms of cataracts. As a cataract grows and vision loss interferes with everyday activities, surgery provides an effective treatment.
What is cataract surgery like?
Cataract surgery is a commonly performed procedure that takes about an hour. During surgery, the doctor makes an incision in the eye, which allows a laser to reach and remove the natural lens. The lens then gets replaced with a clear implant. Boulder/Broomfield senior Patients usually don’t require stitches and can go home (with a chaperone) the same day.
Are there side effects of cataract surgery?
As with any surgery, infection, swelling, bleeding and pain may occur. These can usually be managed by carefully following aftercare instructions. Sometimes, a follow-up procedure may be necessary.

More seriously, cataract surgery correlates with a higher likelihood of retinal detachment, a condition that should be treated as an emergency. Common signs include a sudden increase in visual flashes or “floaters,” the little specks or cobwebs that sometimes drift across the eye.
What are the differences between cataracts and glaucoma?
Cataracts occur when proteins on the eye’s lens clump or thicken. Glaucoma, by contrast, results from damage to the optic nerve, which transmits information from the eye to the brain. Once the cells in the optic nerve become injured, they cannot be repaired. Thus, while cataracts are reversible, glaucoma is not. Early detection and prevention remain the best defense against glaucoma.
What are the differences between cataracts and macular degeneration?
Deterioration of the macula, the small, center portion of the retina that controls visual sharpness, defines age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This affects the ability to read text, recognize faces, drive, watch television, etc. AMD is not reversible, though healthy diet, exercise, and wearing UVA/UVB-protected sunglasses may help prevent it.
Sources
All About Vision
National Eye Institute
The Glaucoma Foundation

 

BrightStar Home Care of Boulder/Broomfield proudly provide Home Care and Support for Seniors, including 24 hour in home care, and support in independent and assisted living communities. We provide all levels of home care from companion services to Skilled Nursing. Medical Staffing, Home care, In-Home Skilled Nursing, In-Home Physical Therapy for pediatric, adult and geriatric patients, Companion and Personal Care for Elders with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. We also provide Home Child Care, Sitter and Nanny services for Children and Support for New Mothers. We Support Veterans as a partner of the VA/Veterans administration provider network and area a Home Care Provider for U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation, and a DOL DEEOIC provider. We Accept most Long Term Care Insurance benefits, provide Hospice care, Live-in care, CNA, Caregiver, RN, LPN, RN Supervision, Compassionate Care, and Compatibility Guarantees. We are an ALS Society partner, Alzheimer Association member, Colorado Health Care Association member, providing care for developmentally disabled and individuals of all ages with mental health and behavioral health diagnosis. Other services inlcude safe discharge and transportation from the hospital or rehab facility, Post Op care both short and long term, Pre Operation and preparation help and assistance, client monitoring for out of town family members. Our service area covers Denver, Thornton, Boulder, Westminster, Longmont, Brighton, Erie, Louisville, Lafayette, Broomfield, and Arvada in Colorado, inlcuding Northglenn, Superior, Niwot, Gunbarrel, Keenesburg, Boulder County, Broomfield County, Jefferson County, Weld County, Adams County.