We use our eyes in almost every activity we perform whether reading, working, watching TV, writing a letter, driving a car, or just enjoying nature.  Our eyes and vision are truly remarkable.  The eye works like a high tech camera; only better.  Inside the eye, just behind the pupil, is a lens we refer to as the crystalline lens. The lens focuses light on the retina which in turn forms images and sends them to the brain.  The lens of the eye also protects the retina from the rays of the sun by acting as a filter of ultraviolet light.  In addition, it has the ability to change shape allowing the eye to focus at various distances.  Clarity of the crystalline lens changes over time eventually causing blurry vision or, what we refer to as a cataract.  Cataracts develop slowly and painlessly until the ability to perform routine daily activities becomes difficult to impossible.

During early stages, cataracts have little effect on vision. As they mature, symptoms of glare, diminished contrast and color sensitivity will occur. Symptoms may include cloudy or dimmed vision, sometimes double vision or in many cases both.  Images may take on a dingy or yellowish tint and reading becomes difficult.  Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions are common.  Sensitivity to bright lights can make it difficult or impossible to drive at night because of glare from headlights of oncoming cars or during the day from the bright sun.  Being able to read captions or scores at the bottom of the TV becomes increasingly difficult.  Fishing and other water sports become more difficult due to simultaneous glare off water and the cataract.

Although cataracts are not completely preventable, their occurrence can be delayed. Quitting smoking, avoiding overexposure to sunlight, wearing sunglasses, avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol, and eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are important protective measures. There are no eye drops, ointments or eye exercises that can prevent cataracts; they are a result of normal aging.

Twenty-two million Americans are affected by cataracts so it is no surprise cataract removal is one of the most common type of eye surgeries performed in the United States.  Fortunately, newer techniques have made it safer and even more efficient to operate in earlier stages. Many surgeons now perform laser assisted cataract surgery.  Regardless of the technique, cataract surgery can improve vision in most patients and prevents millions of Americans from going blind.

If you have questions about cataracts or are interested in having your eyes examined, please contact our offices in Stillwater at 405-372-1715 or Pawnee at 918-762-2573. We also invite you to visit our website at www.cockrelleyecare.com and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eye Care Center!

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