Medical Monday Cataracts

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 11:59 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Everyone in their life will develop cataracts, if they live long enough. Cataracts start to develop at the age of 40 and symptoms typically start to appear around the age of 60.

Francinia McCartney a Comprehensive Ophthalmologist for Northern Light AR Gould Hospital says, “Your cataracts start to form at the age of 40. It’s just they become symptomatic later in life.”

According to Dr. McCartney, cataracts are caused when the lens proteins start to breakdown, causing the lens to become cloudy. Aging is the most common cause but a few other factors are diabetes, trauma, excessive exposure to sunlight without the use of sunglasses and family history. Symptoms of cataracts include blurry vision that doesn’t get better with blinking or a stronger prescription, ghosting of images, colors may appear faded, and driving at night is difficult due to glares and halos.

McCartney says, “Your first step would be to see your optometrist/ophthalmologist, I mean the optometrist in this region, this is who I’ve worked with are very good and they do dilated fundus examinations as well and they can, they often are the people to first diagnose these cataracts. Although, we do to during our routine visits.”

Surgery might be needed for your cataracts if it’s affecting your normal routine.

“I like to describe cataract surgery, like how I do with my patients, like an M&M candy; if you have eaten an M&M candy before. An example, one with a blue shell, I create a circle opening on the top and than I suck the chocolate out. That would be the cataract itself, that would be the lens that is now cloudy and then we put an artificial lens in the remaining shell.” According to McCartney.

McCartney adds, surgery could be a real game changer for vision quality.

“When people have surgery, as I said I keep wanting to say if there’s nothing wrong with their optic nerve or retina their vision can be life changing. Like they can see to do stuff that they may not have been able to do before without glasses as well. So, I mean I think it’s really a life changing procedure that’s done.” says McCartney.

McCartney recommends seeing your primary health care provider or your optometrist if you have any concerns about your vision.

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