Cataract surgery gives new way of seeing world

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One of the most common eye conditions is often one of the most missed because it happens so gradually. (KFSN)

One of the most common eye conditions is often one of the most missed because it happens so gradually. June is Cataract Awareness Month. Treatment can give you a whole new way of seeing the world.

Optometrist Dr. Anthony Baudonnet at EYE-Q Vision Care's new Clovis office checks on his patient Pamela Andrews after a life-changing procedure that took just minutes. The retired educator from Kerman had cataract surgery after changes in her vision she just couldn't ignore.

"The night vision was bad. I got lots of halos, and then the daytime started getting worse where I couldn't read the street signs," said Andrews.

In video provided by EYE-Q, a cataract in one or both eyes is a clouding of the lens, distorting images and dulling colors. At night, halos can appear around lights and street signs.

Cataracts can be caused by trauma. Any impact to the lens of the eye can trigger a cataract. Some people are also born with the condition, but the most common cause is aging.

"Eventually everybody's going to have a cataract. If you live long enough, you'll have a cataract," said Dr. Baudonnet.

Dr. Baudonnet educates his patients in their 50s about the symptoms of a cataract, which they'll start seeing over the next 10-15 years. In fact, in the U.S., cataracts affect 60 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and over 90 percent of people age 75 and older. The doctor says sun damage and some medical conditions can also contribute to cataracts. Left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness.

"Extended time in the sun, UV light can cause cataracts to develop more quickly, people that are diabetic may have cataracts sooner in life, and people that take steroids -- the anti-inflammatories," said Dr. Baudonnet.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure and is usually done in less than an hour. The patient's cloudy lens is removed and an artificial lens is implanted, and the results are clear.

"Surgery was quick, easy, painless, and the instant change was amazing; it was like day and night," said Andrews. Maybe too amazing for Andrews, who jokes about the chores she can now see all too clearly. "I saw all the spider webs in my house and all the dust. No more excuses."
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