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Cataracts, Astigmatism and Presbyopia

Experiencing blurry vision? There are several different things that can cause blurriness up close or far away. This article will discuss causes of blurriness that don’t go away.  

A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens. The lens is responsible for focusing the light that enters the eye on the retina. Cataracts often develop slowly. Vision can often be affected without someone even realizing it. Worldwide, cataracts are the number 1 cause of preventable blindness. The way to correct a cataract is with cataract surgery. Cataract surgery removes the natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. The artificial lens will last the rest of your life and can correct any glasses prescription you may have.

Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curve of the cornea or lens. An eye without astigmatism is a curve that is equal in all directions. The cornea and lens both focus the light that enters the eye onto the retina. If that curve is not smooth or even the light rays cannot refract properly onto the retina. Uncorrected astigmatism can cause blurriness with near or distance vision. Both corneal and lenticular astigmatism, from the cornea or lens respectively, can be corrected with glasses or contacts.   Additionally, astigmatism can be also corrected with cataract surgery. When the natural lens is removed an artificial lens replaces it. The artificial lenses can have the astigmatism correction. Also there are surgical procedures or laser treatment that can be done within cataract surgery to decrease the amount of astigmatism after surgery.

Presbyopia is the normal loss of the ability to focus at near that comes with age. Most people notice the effects of presbyopia around age 40. Presbyopia occurs from the aging of the natural lens inside the eye. The lens becomes harder and less elastic over time. Ways to correct for presbyopia include reading glasses, bifocals, multifocal contact lenses or monovision contact lenses (where one eye sees most clearly at distance and the other eye sees most clearly at near). Additionally cataract surgery can correct for presbyopia as well. When the natural lens is removed an artifical lens replaces it. The artificial lenses can have multifocal correction in them allowing for clear distance, intermediate and near vision. If someone has been stable in monovision contact lenses monovision correction is possible with cataract surgery as well.

If you have blurry vision, you might wonder what is causing it and how to fix it. Blurry vision can have different causes, depending on whether it affects your near or distance vision and whether it is constant or occasional. This article will explain three common causes of blurry vision that don’t go away: presbyopia, cataracts, and astigmatism. We will also tell you how to correct them with cataract surgery in Raleigh, NC.

What are Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of your eye. The lens focuses the light that enters your eye on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye. When the lens becomes cloudy, it blocks some of the light from reaching the retina, making your vision blurry, dull, or hazy. Cataracts often develop slowly and painlessly. You may not notice any changes in your vision at first, but your vision may worsen over time.

Cataracts Symptoms

  • Poor night vision
  • Trouble reading or recognizing faces
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Double vision
  • Frequent changes in your glasses prescription

Cataracts Treatment

Cataracts are the number one cause of preventable blindness worldwide, and the only way to treat cataracts is with cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure that removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL will last the rest of your life and can correct any refractive errors you may have, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common refractive error that occurs when the cornea (the clear front surface of your eye) or the lens (the natural lens inside your eye) has an irregular shape. A normal eye has a smooth and even curve that bends the light rays equally in all directions, whereas an eye with astigmatism has a curve that is more like a football or an egg, which causes the light rays to bend unevenly. When the light rays are not bent properly, they do not focus on a single point on the retina but instead create multiple focal points. 

Astigmatism Symptoms

  • Difficulty focusing on fine details, either close up or at a distance
  • Distortions in vision, such as straight lines appearing wavy or bent
  • Eye strain or squinting
  • Frequent headaches from prolonged focus or reading
  • Needing to change visual focus often can lead to eye fatigue

Astigmatism Treatment

If you are wondering, “Does cataract surgery correct astigmatism?” The answer is yes— cataract surgery can correct astigmatism by replacing your natural lens with an IOL with the right shape and power for your eye. Alternatively, surgical procedures or laser treatments can be done during cataract surgery with astigmatism to reshape your cornea. Astigmatism can also be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Glasses and contact lenses can compensate for the irregular shape of your cornea or lens and help you see more clearly. 

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a common age-related condition that signifies the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on nearby objects. It typically becomes noticeable in adults around the age of 40 or older. The condition develops as the crystalline lens within the eye becomes more rigid and loses elasticity, preventing the lens from changing shape to focus on close objects. This natural change in the eye’s focusing ability can make everyday tasks such as reading, working on a computer, or threading a needle more challenging.

Presbyopia Symptoms

  • Difficulty reading small print or seeing close objects
  • Needing to hold reading materials at arm’s length
  • Eye strain or headaches after reading or doing close work
  • Needing brighter lighting when reading or doing close tasks

Presbyopia Treatment

Presbyopia can be corrected with various options, such as reading glasses, bifocals, multifocal contact lenses, or monovision contact lenses:

  • Reading glasses are simple magnifiers that help you see better up close.
  • Bifocals are glasses that have two different powers: one for distance and one for near.
  • Multifocal contact lenses are similar to bifocals but are worn on your eyes instead of your face.
  • Monovision contact lenses are a special type of contact lens that correct one eye for distance and the other for near, allowing you to see both clearly without switching glasses.

You can correct presbyopia with cataract surgery by replacing your natural lens with a multifocal IOL. A multifocal IOL has different zones of power that allow you to see clearly at different distances, such as far, intermediate, and near. If you have been stable in monovision contact lenses, you can also choose to have monovision correction with cataract surgery, where one eye receives an IOL for distance, and the other eye gets an IOL for near.

How to Get Rid of Blurry Vision

If you are experiencing blurry vision, don’t wait to get help. Call Kelly Eye Center at 919-282-1100 to schedule an eye exam or a cataract consultation appointment. We are conveniently located in Brier Creek, Wake Forest, and Raleigh, serving patients from all over the Triangle area. We offer the latest technology and techniques for cataract surgery and a wide range of IOL options to suit your vision needs and preferences. Let us help you restore your vision and improve your life!

Please note that the suggestions provided in this blog are for general informational purposes only and may not be suitable for your specific insurance plan and eyecare. It is important to consult a qualified healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment.