Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye that leads to a decrease in vision. Left untreated, it is the most common cause of blindness and is conventionally treated with surgery. Vision loss occurs because opacification of the lens obstructs light from passing through and being focused on to the retina at the back of the eye.

What Causes Cataracts?

The most common cause of cataracts is biological aging and overexposure to ultraviolet light.  The lens lies behind the iris and pupil and works to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The rest of our eye structures work together to adjust and transmit images to the brain, which allows us to see objects and colors.

The lens is made of mostly water and proteins. The protein stays aligned in a way that the lens remains clear. As we age, this protein can clump together and become opaque. Much like trying to look through a foggy window, the clouding is what causes blurriness and difficulty seeing and is called a cataract.

While there is no guaranteed way to avoid cataracts, wearing eyewear and sunwear that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays can slow the onset as well as decrease the exposure to direct sunlight. People with cataracts commonly experience difficulty in appreciating colors and changes in contrast, driving, reading, recognizing faces, and coping with glare from bright lights.

Treatment Options

Treatment for cataracts is safe and effective. The most common form of treatment is surgery. In fact, by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract, or have cataract surgery. Cataract surgery replaces the lens inside an affected eye and restores your clear vision. Other treatment may be possible, but cataract surgery is common and very helpful for many people.

If you have questions about cataracts or other eye health conditions, please call our office or speak with Dr. Steven St. Marie or Dr. Karl Cunningham at your next appointment. Learn more about other threats to your vision and how annual eye exams check for symptoms by watching our video.

We want to express our appreciation to all of you for your patience with us during this crazy time.  We have remained open to see urgent and emergent patients and are slowly beginning to increase the number of patients we see per week.  We have staggered schedules to only have one doctor and their required support staff in the office.  We have staggered patient times such that only one patient is seen at a time.  As such, we must still prioritize those with the greatest need for our services since we are seeing only a fraction of our customary number of patients.  Please understand that you are all very important to us and we look forward to seeing you as soon as practically possible.
We are still offering telemedicine for urgent needs that can be managed outside of the office.

If you come into our office for an appointment, this is what you can expect…
You will receive a phone call from us before the day of your appointment to go over your recent history and other pertinent information to facilitate your time with the doctor during the exam.  If we are unable to have this conversation, your appointment will need to be rescheduled.

Please park near the front entrance (west facing) when you arrive and call our number (524-9561) to announce your arrival.  Our doors are locked to limit the number of patients in the office at any one time.  One of our staff members will review a COVID risk questionnaire with you and take your temperature prior to your entering our office.  We require that you wear a clean mask to your appointment. If you require support or assistance or are under the age of 18, you may have one person accompany you (provided they pass the COVID questionnaire as well).  In an effort to reduce the number of potential contamination points, please leave any unnecessary items in your vehicle (hats, cell phones, etc.).  Nonessential visitors that accompany patients will be required to stay in their vehicle.

Our frame gallery is open on an appointment basis only.  The same precautions shall apply.  All frames are sterilized following handling.

Patients, parents and essential care providers with a temperature of 100.4 or higher or answer yes to any of the COVID-19 questions will not be allowed entry into the office.  If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you.

Everyone’s health and wellness are our number one priority.  We are following the CDC and the AOA’s recommendations regarding COVID-19.  As guidelines change in the upcoming months, we will adapt accordingly.

Thank you very much for entrusting us with your care during this unprecedented time.