Did you know cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss in adults? Cataracts are very common. Approximately 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts and half of people 80 and older will develop cataracts.

In honor of Cataract Awareness Month, Dr. Jay Bansal of LaserVue LASIK and Cataract Center is offering free cataract screenings throughout the month of August to those 55 and older.

A cataract is a gradual clouding of the eye’s natural crystalline lens. This lens assists with focusing light rays onto the retina, which communicates images to the brain. After the cataract starts to cloud the lens, it is impossible to return the lens to its clear state with medications and may require cataract surgery.

“Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, but in most situations, they are easily removed. Today we use no shots, no stitches and no patches and surgery generally takes less than 10 minutes to perform.” Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the United States, with more than 1.6 million procedures performed each year.

“Conditions and prognoses for cataract patients have never been better. Today, cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia, and recovery time is very fast” says Dr. Bansal, “We replace the cataract lens with a new state-of-the-art lens implant. Some of these implants offer patients near vision restoration. They are called Premium Lens Implants and allow patients to do most things without glasses. It’s a great feeling not only to restore my patients’ vision but also to give them great spectacle independence.”

So how do you know if you have a cataract? Dr. Bansal explains: “Most patients start to notice issues while driving at night, a loss of color, loss of detail or sharpness on items such as road signs, or they tend to see a large change in prescription during their annual eye exam. “

Dr. Bansal says, “The time to have a cataract removed is not when it becomes “ripe” as was the case in the past. Now we will remove the cataract as soon as it begins to interfere with a patient’s vision.”

Regardless of popular belief, lasers are not used to remove mature cataracts. However, a ‘Yag’ laser is used to remove a ‘secondary cataract’, which is a film that sometimes develops several months after having a cataract removed.

To learn more about cataracts or to schedule a free screening, contact LaserVue LASIK and Cataract Center at 707-522-6200.