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Can Eyeglasses Help with Cataracts?

If you’ve started having trouble seeing at night or your vision is becoming more blurred as you age, you may be developing cataracts. While this is a normal part of getting older, it can also be scary as our sight is so important to many of our day-to-day activities. Read on to find out what cataracts are and how you can get your vision back to normal.

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is when the lens of your eye becomes clouded. Cataracts make everything look foggy or cloudy, which can make daily tasks difficult. What actually happens is that the proteins and fibers in the lens of your eye begin to break down. This is a gradual process that typically takes years and it usually presents itself in older adults as a natural part of aging. However, it can also be caused by an injury to your eye, other eye conditions or surgeries, diabetes, or long-term use of steroid medications.
Cataracts do not hurt, and early on, a cataract does not necessarily affect your sight. The cloudiness may just affect a small portion of your eye and may not even be noticeable without routine eye exams.  Cataracts can occur in one or both of your eyes.  While they are not contagious and cannot ‘spread’ from one eye to the other, a person with a cataract in one eye is likely to develop one in the other eye as well.  Over time, cataracts will continue to grow larger until you eventually notice changes in your vision.

Symptoms Include

Can Prescription Glasses Help?

The truth is, prescription glasses may help improve blurry vision and/or address nearsightedness which are both common consequences of cataracts.  After a thorough eye exam, your optometrist can prescribe you specific lenses that can help bring images back into focus and let more light into the retina so you can see clearer.  Even if you’ve previously worn glasses, the shift in your vision due to cataracts can be addressed by changing your prescription as long as the cataract is not too severe.
However, while glasses may help you to see better for a time, they do not directly treat the cataracts themselves. Glasses are used as a sort of band-aid solution to treat the symptoms but not the cause. This means that even if you change your prescription multiple times to keep up with your vision changes, your vision will continue to deteriorate over time until you have cataract surgery. However, cataracts typically progress slowly and occur in our later years, so many times prescription glasses remain effective enough for people to forgo the surgery for some time.
If changing your prescriptions no longer improves your sight, then your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist for surgery.  When you have cataract surgery, the doctor removes the clouded lens, also known as the cataract, from the eye and replaces it with an artificial lens that will prevent cataracts from developing in the future.  This is the most effective treatment for cataracts, but prescription glasses can help aid your vision symptoms in the meantime.
Schedule an appointment today to get your eyes checked and what your options are.