Author Archives: JayLCEyes

What diet helps thyroid eye disease? What foods should be avoided?

What diet helps thyroid eye disease and what foods should be avoided?

Your diet is of utmost importance in managing Graves’ Disease. There is a connection between people having an intolerance to gluten, such as in Celiac disease, and those having autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Graves’ Disease and Thyroid Eye Disease. Gluten tends to exacerbate symptoms and disrupt the immune system. Many foods and drinks contain gluten, including wheat and wheat products, rye, barley, malt, triticale, brewer’s yeast, and grains such as spelt, kamut, farro, and durum. Although avoiding gluten is not a cure for Thyroid Eye Disease, Graves’ Disease or Celiac disease, it may prevent some of the serious manifestations from occurring. 

Ingesting too much dietary iodine may trigger hyperthyroidism in the elderly or in people who have an existing thyroid disease. Iodine is a micronutrient that is necessary for good health; however, taking it in the right amount is important. Foods containing dietary iodine include most table salt, bread, dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Foods which are naturally high in iodine include seafood, especially haddock and cod, seaweed and sea vegetables such as kelp. You should discuss how much iodine you need with your doctor.

Also, it has been shown that vegetarians fare better with thyroid disorders than people that eat animal products, including beef, chicken, pork and fish. 

Some foods provide the antioxidants and nutrients that may help alleviate symptoms and reduce the intensity of flares. Because hyperthyroidism makes it difficult for your body to absorb calcium, patients are in danger of developing brittle bones and osteoporosis. A diet high in calcium may help. Foods that contain calcium include some dairy products, but caution needs to be taken as to which of those do not contain iodine as well. Other foods high in calcium include broccoli, almonds, kale, sardines, and okra. Foods high in vitamin D, magnesium and selenium are also beneficial.

Vitamin D

Your body needs Vitamin D for building and maintaining healthy bones by increasing the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorous. It also supports immune health, muscle function and regulates many other cellular functions in your body. Some foods that have high amounts of Vitamin D are cod liver oil, salmon, herring & sardines, canned tuna, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Sometimes foods are fortified with vitamin D such cow’s milk, soymilk, orange juice, cereals, and oatmeal.

Magnesium

Magnesium is needed by our muscles, the blood vessels and cardiac system, as well as the brain and the bone tissue. Foods that are rich in magnesium include rice bran, legumes, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, edamame, and kale, white beans, black beans, okra, potato, lentils, broccoli, pumpkin and squash, almonds, cashews, peanuts, seeds, plantains, dried figs, avocados, prunes, banana, dark chocolate, brown and wild rice, mackerel, tuna, tofu, scallops, salmon, pollock, oysters, rockfish, halibut.

Selenium

Selenium supports reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production and helps protect you from inflammation. Foods high in selenium are Brazil nuts, oysters, tilapia, salmon, chicken breast, ground turkey, shrimp, Shiitake and Portobello mushrooms, sunflower seeds, navy beans, peanut butter, oatmeal, brown rice, flaxseed, and asparagus.

This list of beneficial foods is not comprehensive. You should work with your doctor or a nutritionist to develop a diet that is right for you. To learn more about TED read this article about thyroid eye disease.

Would you like to talk with someone about your vision? Contact us today at (843) 553-2477 to schedule an appointment.

What is thyroid eye disease and can it be treated?

What is thyroid eye disease and can it be treated?

Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune eye condition that is often seen in people with thyroid disease and is usually abbreviated TED. It tends to run in families and is more frequent in women and in smokers. When you have TED, your immune system mistakenly attacks the muscle and fat tissue behind your eyes, causing inflammation, redness, and swelling as well as causing scar tissue to form. 

More severe effects from TED are rare, but can occur, including vision loss from damage to the optic nerve and breakdown/infection of the cornea (the transparent, outermost layer of the eye). About 90% of TED patients also have Graves’ Disease. However, about 10% of TED patients have a normal or under-functioning thyroid. 

TED can be seen in conjunction with Graves’ Disease, Grave’s ophthalmopathy or orbitopathy (GO), or Thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO). About 30% of people with Graves’ Disease have a mild form of thyroid eye disease while 5% develop a severe form. The condition is also seen in people with no evidence of thyroid dysfunction or in people diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, a hypothyroid autoimmune condition marked by an underproduction of thyroid hormones.  

Graves’ Disease, also known as toxic diffuse goiter, is an autoimmune disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid). Graves’ is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and usually results in an enlarged thyroid. When the thyroid gland is overactive, the body’s processes speed up. This “speeding up” may cause irritability, muscle weakness, sleeping problems, a fast heartbeat, poor tolerance for heat, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, nervousness, anxiety, hand tremors, excessive sweating, and hair loss, among other symptoms. Some individuals even experience problems with memory, focus, and depression. 

Graves’ ophthalmopathy or orbitopathy (GO) is a thyroid eye disease that can affect both a person’s vision and their physical characteristics.  

Thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO) is an inflammation behind the eye that affects fat and extra-ocular muscles that causes the eye to protrude. The upper eyelids also are involved as they pull back, adding to the appearance of excessive protrusion. It can create dryness, burning, and eye irritation. TAO affects women more frequently than men between the ages of 40 and 60.  

What are the symptoms of thyroid eye disease? Does it hurt? 

Symptoms appear suddenly and often worsen quickly. The inflammation and scarring that occurs can damage your eyes. It’s important to see a specialist right away to begin treatment. The pain associated with TED relates to the symptoms which can be treated to prevent persistent pain and emotional distress. Symptoms may include some or all of the following: 

  • Movement of the eyeball up, down, or sideways causes pain 
  • Difficulty in moving the eyes up, down, or sideways
  • Inflammation and swelling of the eye causing eye to push forward giving the appearance of bulging (exophthalmos)
  • Dryness, itching, burning and irritability of the eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Double Vision
  • Appearance of redness or bloodshot eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Impaired vision or double vision (diplopia)
  • Optic neuropathy
  • Eyes not in alignment with each other
  • Feelings of anxiety and depression, loss of confidence

Can thyroid eye disease go away? 

Thyroid eye disease is known to go into periods of remission and can have varying degrees of severity. It sometimes is active for six months to three years. If it is inactive for six months, it usually remains inactive, but that doesn’t mean it goes away. You may still have mild symptoms that if left untreated, it can flare up again. 

TED has two phases. The acute phase which means the disease is active and the chronic phase which is the inactive or stable period of thyroid eye disease, a period when it slows down with few or no symptoms. 

Can thyroid eye disease affect only one eye? 

It may affect only one eye, or one eye more than the other. Thyroid eye disease may begin with either one eye or both or one eye may have more severe symptoms. It is not known why this can occur. 

Does everyone with Graves’ Disease get bulging eyes? 

The people that are diagnosed with Graves’ ophthalmopathy have a condition wherein inflammation and other autoimmune activity affects muscles and other tissues around the eyes, which may result in the appearance of bulging eyes (exophthalmos). Only about 30% of people with Graves’ Disease develop exophthalmos. 

Does Graves’ Disease get worse over time? 

Graves’ Disease, if not treated, can over time cause heart damage and erratic behavior due to negative effects on the brain. When the thyroid gland is overactive, the body’s processes speed up. This “speeding up” may cause irritability, muscle weakness, sleeping problems, a fast heartbeat, poor tolerance for heat, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, nervousness, anxiety, hand tremors, excessive sweating, and hair loss, among other symptoms. Some individuals even experience problems with memory, focus, and depression. 

How quickly does thyroid eye disease progress? 

There are two phases of Thyroid Eye Disease. The first phase is called the acute phase, or active phase when symptoms are apparent. The second is called the chronic phase, or the inactive phase when there are few or no symptoms. 

Thyroid Eye Disease begins with the acute phase, when symptoms appear suddenly and usually worsen quickly. Redness and swelling (inflammation) and scarring start to form during this phase and can damage your eyes and cause a number of other changes. As soon as you notice any symptoms, contact your specialist to schedule a thorough eye exam before any eye damage can be done. 

Would you like to talk with someone about your vision? Contact us today at (843) 553-2477 to schedule an appointment.

Can you drive with thyroid eye disease? 

In the early stages before damage is done, a patient should have no trouble driving. However, there are some symptoms of hyperthyroidism that would prevent you from seeing properly when driving.  

  • Advanced symptoms may cause a physician to advise against driving while symptoms persist. The physician will review and report on the patient’s visual capacity regularly and oversee possible side effects of medications prescribed.  
  • A patient would not be able to drive with symptoms that reduce the psychophysical capacity. 
  • Thyroid crisis or storm would prevent a patient from driving until the problem is solved. 
  • After thyroidectomy surgery, the patient cannot drive for three weeks and can drive only after the surgeon’s assessment of the clinical recovery of the patient. 

What is the best treatment for thyroid eye disease? 

From an ophthalmologist’s perspective, the primary goal of treatment is to prevent loss of visual function, while at the same time, taking steps to prevent other disfunctions of the eye that can occur. Treatment becomes less effective as the disease progresses from the early, acute phase to the chronic phase. In fact, treatment initiated during the early months of the active phase has been shown to be most effective; whereas, treatment that is begun during the late stages of the active phase, has shown to have little effect on the final outcome of disease. Once the chronic stage has set in, treatment options become more limited and is primarily surgical. 

About seventy-five percent of patients with thyroid eye disease (TED) have mild to moderate symptoms and require primarily symptom management, such as eye lubrication (daytime eyedrops and nighttime ophthalmic ointment). Sometimes topical cyclosporine is prescribed to reduce symptoms of ocular surface irritation. Lifestyle changes are also helpful, such as smoking cessation, as smoking cessation helps prevent further development of the disease and decreases the duration of the active phase. Sodium restriction (salt) to reduce water retention and edema in the eye tissue is beneficial as well as sleeping with the head elevated to decrease orbital edema. 

Medical treatments include Oral steroids, ILGF-1 monoclonal antibody infusions (Tepezza®), and/or orbital radiation.  Talking with your doctor can help to decide if any of any of these treatments are right for you.  

About twenty percent of patients with thyroid eye disease undergo some type of surgical procedure such as eyelid surgery, strabismus surgery and orbital decompression surgery. Generally, surgery is not advised until the TED has been in the stable phase for at least 6-9 months with the exception being visual loss from compressive optic neuropathy or corneal exposure, which both require urgent surgical intervention. 

TED can also be disfiguring and can be emotionally and psychologically challenging for many patients. The symptoms that come and go can be wearisome for all concerned. It’s important to get involved with one of the Peer Support Groups that are available in order to stay hopeful and encouraged. 

Do ophthalmologists treat thyroid eye disease? 

Yes, some ophthalmologists treat thyroid eye disease. TED Specialists have special training in one area of ophthalmology, such as surgical procedures. The following are the types of specialized ophthalmologists that you could see. 

  • Oculoplastic surgeons 
  • Neuro-ophthalmologists 
  • Strabismus specialists/surgeons 
  • Retina/Vitreous specialists 
  • Cornea specialists 

Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist that can find the answers you need.

What is the thyroid gland? 

The thyroid gland is situated in the front portion of the neck and is shaped like a butterfly, covering the windpipe from three sides. It secretes two hormones, Triiodothyronine (T3) hormone and the Thyroxine hormone (T4). These hormones regulate the metabolism of the body and therefore affect almost every tissue in the body.  

How is thyroid eye disease diagnosed? 

To diagnose thyroid eye disease, you will need a complete eye exam, lab tests, and imaging tests. The ophthalmologist will test your vision, color vision, and visual fields. In addition, eyelid measurements will be taken, eye pressure tested, and optic nerve checked. An exophthalmometer will be used to measure the degree (if any) of eye bulging and if and how far forward your eyes have moved due to TED. 

If you have not already had a diagnosis of Graves’ Disease, the doctor may order laboratory tests to confirm whether you do or not have Graves’. However, you may not need these tests if you already know that you have Graves’ Disease. 

You will need blood tests to check the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), Thyroxine (T4), Triiodothyronine (T3), Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI), Thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody (TRAb), and anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (anti-TPO).  

If you do not have a previous diagnosis of Graves’ Disease, you may have the following imaging tests: 

  • Radioactive iodine uptake test with X-rays to check how the thyroid collects iodine  
  • Ultrasound of the thyroid to see if it is enlarged or has nodules  
  • CT scan to check for an enlarged thyroid and nodules  
  • MRI to check for an enlarged thyroid and nodules 

If you already know that you have Graves’ disease, a CT scan and MRI will be taken to check the condition of your eyes and eye muscles. These imaging tests can show inflamed tissues, enlarged muscles, and compressed optic nerves in the eyes. 

There is a possibility for some symptoms of TED to be similar to other conditions, such as orbital tumors. Your ophthalmologist will be treating the TED (Thyroid Eye Disease) specifically, while working closely with your primary care physicians/endocrinologists, who will be the ones managing/monitoring the Thyroid disease. Your doctor will do testing to confirm your condition. When looking at the whole picture: the results of a physical exam, lab tests, and imaging tests, it can be determined whether you have thyroid eye disease or something else. 

Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist that can find the answers you need.

What happens the day after cataract surgery?

What happens the day after cataract surgery?

Do not drive the first day following surgery. Protect your eyes from bright sunlight and keep the protective shield taped over your eye for several hours according to your surgeon’s instructions. Do not rub or push on your eye. Tape the protective shield over your eye whenever you lie down or go to sleep for the night at least for several days. Avoid bending over and do not do any heavy lifting or strenuous activities for a few weeks.

Within a few days after cataract surgery your vision should begin to improve and most of the discomfort should disappear. Although your vision may be blurry at first your eye will heal and adjust to the cataract removal and to the intraocular lens used to replace your eye’s natural lens. Your eye doctor will usually schedule to see you a day or two after your surgery, and then again after about a month to keep an eye on the healing process. Complete healing often occurs within eight weeks.

Your surgeon my prescribe eye drops and/or other medications to prevent infection and/or to reduce inflammation and to control eye pressure. Some medications may be injected into the eye at the time of surgery. It is normal to feel itching and some mild discomfort for a couple of days, but contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Vision loss
  • Pain that persists despite the use of over-the-counter pain medications
  • Increased eye redness
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Light flashes or multiple spots (floaters) in front of your eye

After cataract surgery, many people need to use prescription glasses at least some of the time. Others buy inexpensive ‘readers’ or magnifiers from their local store. Between one and three months after surgery, your eye doctor will let you know when your eyes have healed enough for you to be tested for prescription eyeglasses. If you have cataracts in both eyes, your doctor will schedule the second surgery after the first eye has completely healed.

Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist that can find the answers you need.

Can you get rid of cataracts without surgery?

Can you get rid of cataracts without surgery?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have not approved any non-surgical cures for cataracts. However, there is ongoing research into topical treatments for cataracts. Researchers in the US are developing drugs that can be delivered directly into the eye via an eye-dropper to shrink down and dissolve cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in humans.

The drugs have not yet been tested on humans, but a team from the University of California, San Diego is attempting to reproduce the findings in clinical trials to offer an alternative to the only treatment that’s currently available to cataract patients – cataract surgery.

“The new drug is based on a naturally-occurring steroid called lanosterol. The idea to test the effectiveness of lanosterol on cataracts came to the researchers when they became aware of two children in China who had inherited a congenital form of cataract, which had never affected their parents. The researchers discovered that these siblings shared a mutation that stopped the production of lanosterol, which their parents lacked.

“So if the parents were producing lanosterol and didn’t get cataracts, but their children weren’t producing lanosterol and did get cataracts, the researchers proposed that the steroid might halt the defective crystallin proteins from clumping together and forming cataracts in the non-congenital form of the disease.

“The next step is for the researchers to figure out exactly how the lanosterol-based eye drops are eliciting this response from the cataract proteins, and to progress their research to human trials.” While there are high hopes that this will provide another option for treating Cataracts the only proven option currently available is surgery.

Do you need cataract surgery? Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist that can find the answers you need and walk you through the entire process.

How can you tell if you have cataracts?

How can you tell if you have cataracts?

The symptoms of cataracts can include some or all of the following:  

  • the need for more light to do ordinary tasks
  • cloudy, foggy, filmy, hazy, or blurry vision 
  • loss of night vision, glare from headlights blinds you 
  • sensitivity to glare during the day
  • poor depth perception 
  • loss of contrast sensitivity, colors appear dull and less vivid or bright 
  • Nearsightedness (in older people) 
  • double vision in affected eye 
  • trouble with eyeglasses not working well

Can you see cataracts in the mirror?

At the later stages, when you look in the mirror, you might see a milky white covering over the pupil.

How long do Cataracts take to develop?

Most age-related cataracts typically develop over a span of years, even decades. It’s a comparatively slow process. There are types of cataracts, though, that may develop faster, such as cataracts caused by diabetes, trauma, illness, or radiation where they can develop rapidly in younger adults or even children. These types of cataracts may require treatment within a few years of the initial diagnosis, rather than decades. 

What will happen if cataract is left untreated?

Untreated cataracts can lead to hyper-mature cataracts, which in turn, can lead to total blindness. Delaying treatment of age-related cataracts can increase a seniors’ risk of both physical and psychological damage due to permanent blindness. For seniors, all surgery is risky, but having hyper-mature cataracts is a condition that makes removal more difficult and may cause surgical complications. As soon as cataracts are diagnosed, whether age-related, congenital, or whether due to injury or sickness, a qualified eye doctor should be consulted to determine when surgery is indicated.

If you have a cataract don’t delay. Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist that can find the answers you need and walk you through the entire process.

Can stress cause cataracts?

Can stress cause cataracts?

A new analysis of existing research suggests that emotional or psychological stress can be a consequence and a cause of vision loss. In the case of cataracts, the exact origin is not known. But, doctors believe that oxidative stress may play a part in the damages to enzymes and proteins in the lens.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. Although oxidative stress occurs naturally and plays a role in the aging process, it has also been linked to emotional or psychological stress as well. Because emotional or psychological stress is associated with increased oxidant production and oxidative damage, long-term exposure to emotional or psychological stressors may enhance the risk of many diseases associated with oxidative stress, including cataracts.

In fact, some of the risk factors associated with cataracts are also associated with oxidative stress: exposure to radiation, smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products, alcohol consumption, certain prescription medications, pollution, exposure to pesticides or industrial chemicals, obesity, diets high in fat, sugar and processed foods.

Can you prevent Cataracts?

There are several ways you can keep your eyes healthy, which may slow down cataract formation. Wearing UV protective sunglasses when in sunlight or in the car can protect your eyes from sun damage. Adjust your diet to include antioxidant rich foods, especially spinach and other leafy green vegetables. Take antioxidant supplements for the eye lens such as vitamins C, E, and A, lutein, meso-zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, saffron and glutathione.

Click here to learn more about some of the common causes for cataracts.

Do cataracts grow back?

Do cataracts grow back?

It is impossible for cataracts to “grow back”. Cataracts grow inside of the lens of the eye. During the cataract surgery, the lens is completely removed. However, people who have had cataract surgery may develop a secondary cataract.

The medical term for this common complication is known as posterior capsule opacification (PCO). It happens when the back of the lens that now supports the lens implant becomes cloudy and impairs your vision. Posterior capsular opacification is a long-term complication of cataract surgery that causes decreased vision, glare, and other symptoms similar to that of the original cataract.

cloudy cataract in right eye

A painless, five-minute outpatient procedure called yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) laser capsulotomy rectifies the problem. In YAG laser capsulotomy, the doctor uses a laser beam to make a small opening in the clouded capsule to provide a clear path through which the light can pass.

Complications are rare but can include increased eye pressure and retinal detachment. Click the link for more detailed information or get in touch with us today to get your questions answered.

Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to learn about cataract surgery options and speak with a specialist that can walk you through the entire process.

What types of cataract surgery are there?

What types of cataract surgery are there?

Phacoemulsification

This is also known as ‘Phaco’ and is the most common technique used for cataract removal today. It usually takes less than half an hour to remove a cataract through phacoemulsification, and requires only minimal sedation. Once the clouded lens is removed, an intraocular lens implant, also referred commonly as an IOL, is implanted in the natural lens capsule.

Extracapsular Cataract Surgery

This cataract procedure is used in cases of highly advanced cataracts, which are too dense for phacoemulsification or when phacoemulsification is not possible for various other reasons. The cataract is removed in one piece instead of being fragmented within the eye as is done in Phacoemulsification. Just like phacoemulsification, an artificial lens (IOL) is placed inside the same natural lens capsule. Extracapsular Cataract Surgery results in slower recovery of the wound as well as visual function.

Intracapsular Cataract Surgery

Though rarely used nowadays, Intracapsular Cataract surgery requires an even larger incision as compared to Extracapsular surgery, through which the entire lens with surrounding capsule is removed. The IOL (intraocular lens) is placed in a different location, in front of the iris, in this surgical procedure.

Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery

This uses a femtosecond laser system to assist in portions of the cataract surgery. This is an optional service that offers the most precise incisions and reduces the amount of energy needed to remove the cataract.

Contact us today at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a cataract surgery specialist that can find the answers you need and walk you through the entire process or learn more here.

Is cataract surgery painful?

Is cataract surgery painful?

No one should delay their decision to have cataract surgery due to concerns that the procedure will be painful. Quite the contrary, there is little or no discomfort during cataract surgery for most people. On the day of your surgery, you will most likely be given a mild sedative to help you relax and then numbing eye drops will be applied to your eye to prevent discomfort.

To eliminate the risks associated with general anesthesia (where you are put to sleep), you will be given medications before and during surgery to insure you won’t feel any pain. You will be awake during the short procedure, enabling your surgeon to communicate with you to ensure you remain comfortable. Your cataract surgeon may ask you how you are feeling throughout the surgery even though you probably won’t remember much of anything due to the medications administered before and during the process.

As the medications wear off after the procedure, you could feel some slight eye discomfort. It is usually mild and can be managed with short-term use of over-the-counter pain medication. You will be given instructions on handling post-surgical discomfort before you leave the surgery center.

What are the disadvantages of cataract surgery?

It is important to know that cataract surgery complications are few, and cataract surgery is among the most common and most successful surgical procedures performed today. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year, with an overall success rate of 98 percent or higher. Also, a study of more than 200,000 Medicare beneficiaries who underwent cataract surgery between 1994 and 2006 found that 99.5 percent of patients had no severe postoperative complications and the risk of severe complications has decreased with advances in surgical tools and techniques. Nevertheless, there are potential cataract surgery complications and risks, which include:

  • Posterior capsule opacity (PCO)
  • Intraocular lens dislocation
  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye infection or bleeding
  • Light sensitivity
  • Photopsia (perceived flashes of light)
  • Macular edema (swelling of the central retina)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Loss of vision
  • Ptosis (droopy eyelid)
  • Ocular hypertension (elevated eye pressure)

Your cataract surgery risk is greater if you have another eye disease or a serious medical condition. Rarely, cataract surgery fails to improve vision because of underlying eye damage from other conditions, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. If possible, it may be beneficial to evaluate and treat other eye problems before making the decision to have cataract surgery.

Most cataract surgery complications are minor and can be successfully treated medically or with additional surgery. If possible complications or surgery risks are of concern, you should discuss them with your eye doctor before having surgery.

What are the benefits of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery successfully restores vision in the majority of people who have the procedure. Colors will once again appear sharper than when the cataracts dulled their distinct hues and your ability to see at night will greatly improve. The greatest benefits of cataract surgery, for most people though, is the restored and improved quality of life, being able to read, watch TV, use a computer, sew, cook, do yard work, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you everyday.

Doctors now believe that having cataract surgery may even reduce the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly as well as reducing the risk of falls and hip fractures. 

Contact us today at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist and schedule an appointment or click here to learn more about the surgery.

What causes eye cataracts?

What causes eye cataracts?

Before discussing what causes cataracts we should briefly discuss what a cataract is. If you already know feel free to skip down to the next section.

What is a cataract? 

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it difficult to read, drive a car or even see the smile on your grandchild’s face. The loss of depth perception can cause a miscalculation in how close an object is or isn’t. Cataracts make vision blurry and can make it harder to see in bright light or at night and colors may appear to be duller. They are a common eye problem associated with aging that usually develop slowly. They typically don’t affect your eyesight early on, but will eventually interfere with your vision and thus, your quality of life. Untreated cataracts can lead to blindness.

By age 65, around a quarter of people develop cataracts, according to the National Eye Institute. Starting at around age 40, the chance of developing cataracts increases until by age 80, the possibility of advanced cataracts increases to more than 50%.

How do cataracts form?

Most cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye’s lens. When the lens of your eye becomes cloudy due to crystallin protein clumping, the resulting image is blurred and less bright. Crystallin is a water-soluble protein found in the lens, which makes the structure transparent. A healthy lens is transparent and allows maximum light to enter the eye. Cataracts occur when crystalline proteins within the lens become damaged, triggering them to misfold and aggregate into clumps inside a normally clear lens leaving them cloudy or hazy, blocking some of the light. It can cause the loss of some or all of your eyesight.

In addition to age-related cataracts, there are congenital cataracts. This is what doctors call it when babies are born with cataracts. These cataracts may be caused by infection, injury, or poor development in the womb. Or, cataracts can form during childhood. These can happen as a result of other medical conditions, such as diabetes.

Other causes for the progression of cataracts can be attributed to being around toxic substances, UV light exposure, or radiation, or from taking medicines such as corticosteroids or diuretics. Smokers are at risk for cataracts because smoking produces free radicals, which cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA and smoking increases exposure to toxins. Heavy drinking of alcohol can also increase the chance of developing cataracts.

Another risk factor for cataracts can be nutritional deficiencies from poor digestion, or inadequate intake or absorption of nutrients. Trauma can cause cataracts, as well, which can form after an injury to the head or eye or after ocular surgeries or they can occur due to other eye conditions. Some inherited genetic disorders that cause other health problems, such as diabetes can increase the possibility of forming cataracts as well.

You can click on the link to learn more about cataracts or contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling (843) 553-2477 or click here to schedule online.