WHAT IS A CATARACT
A cataract is the clouding of the eyes natural crystalline lens. The lens, which lies just behind the iris, works just like a camera lens. It changes shape to allow us to focus clearly on things both close up and far away.
As we age, proteins in our eye's lens begin to oxidize and clump together slowly forming a cataract. This is a completely normal process that slowly develops over time. Although there are many different forms of cataracts, our "normal" cataracts typically begin forming in our 30's or 40's. They usually do not begin to affect our vision until well into our 60's.
Although there are many kinds of cataracts, most of ours begin as a very light yellow haze in our lens. In time our cataracts will grow in size, density, and become darker in color. As this process occurs we will slowly begin to notice some changes in our vision. These vision changes typically begin as a change in vision where it becomes "just not perfect." As the cataract progresses we may notice that we need more light to read things, or that our new glasses are not as clear. We may also notice more glare and difficulty with our nighttime driving and our low-lighting visual tasks.
It is important to tell your Eye Columbus Optometrists if you notice any of these changes in your vision. When you and/or your Eye Doctor feel that your vision is significantly affected, he or she will refer you to a cataract surgeon that they trust with removing the cataracts.
Many doctors use the term "ripen" to refer to the time when a cataract is ready for removal. Essentially, the cataract is ready to be removed when it is significantly affecting your vision.