By Dr. Nadine Shelton O.D.
The clear lens in our eyes when we’re born, over time will naturally cloud over time and make it progressively more difficult to see. This clouding process is called cataracts. As we age, the lenses in our eyes harden and may start to look cloudy. At first this clouding has little to no effect on the vision. However over time, this cloudiness can start to make things look blurry because it interferes with the light coming into the eye. It’s like looking through a piece of cloudy glass. Cataracts can also make light from the sun or lamp lights seem too bright and have too much glare. This becomes most obvious when driving at night or at dusk.
The natural lens of the eye is mostly made up of water and precisely arranged protein. As we age, the protein (the chemical structure of the lens) can start to clump and cause clouding. The most common cause is age but family history, eye injury, medications such as steroids or certain health problems such as diabetes can also cause cataracts.
During an eye exam, your optometrist will analyze the opacity of your lenses to determine if you have cataracts. In the early stages, minimal vision blurriness may be corrected by updating your glasses. Once the cataract is visually significant and glasses can no longer improve your vision, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist for surgery. The procedure involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a new artificial (intra-ocular) lens. After surgery you may or may not need glasses for distance but will most likely need a reading correction.
Some people will experience a secondary clouding of the vision after surgery. This is not the cataract coming back but a film that can grow behind the lens as a side effect of the surgery. When the film is thick enough and starts to affect the quality of a person’s vision, your optometrist will send you back to your cataract surgeon to have it taken off with a laser.
Avoid the long wait times at an Urgent Care Centre or Hospital. If you have acute eye pain or other eye problem, you can make an appointment or drop in at any time during our office hours. These conditions are covered for those who have a Manitoba Health number.
Dr. Nadine Shelton B.Sc, O.D. studied at University of Winnipeg, Canada and Indiana University, USA. She has worked abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico assisting outreach patient eye care with VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity). Her university days focused on early child eye care and low vision. Dr. Shelton has spent almost nine years in South St.Vital growing her practice. She has recently opened her new own practice with her partner Victor Lopes in the heart of the Corydon Village called nv. nv Eye Care & Eye Wear is a full service optical where eye exams are available and a great selection of unique to the city eye wear can be found. Learn more at nvmyeyes.com, call us at (204) 504-6863 or come see us at 100-698 Corydon Ave in Winnipeg, Canada.