(NAPS)—Some eye conditions cannot be corrected with eyeglasses—but they can be helped. If you have a cataract, a condition in which the lens in your eye has become cloudy and vision becomes blurry—as if you’re looking through a foggy windshield—you need to see an ophthalmologist.
As physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care, ophthalmologists treat all diseases and conditions that affect the eye. You will first need a comprehensive dilated eye exam. The ophthalmologist will dilate your pupil to see the back of your eye to make the cataract diagnosis.
Here are some vision changes you might notice if you have a cataract:
• Difficulty seeing clearly or sharply
• Seeing two images instead of one
• Being extra sensitive to light, needing to shield eyes to prevent eye pain
• Trouble seeing well at night or needing increased light to read
• Seeing bright colors as faded.
EyeCare America May Be Able To Help
If you are concerned about the cost of the exam, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program may be able to help. This national public service provides eye care through volunteer ophthalmologists for eligible seniors 65 and older, and those at increased risk for eye disease. To see if you or your loved ones are eligible, visit www.aao.org/eyecareamerica.
I Have Cataracts, What’s Next?
You and your ophthalmologist should discuss your cataract symptoms. Together, you can decide whether you are ready for cataract surgery.
Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. During surgery, your ophthalmologist will remove your eye’s cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens. If you decide to have cataract surgery, your doctor will discuss several options with you.
Check to see if you are eligible for EyeCare America by completing a simple online questionnaire. There are more than 5,500 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. waiting to assist you.
Since 1985, EyeCare America has helped nearly 2 million people with sight-saving eye care and resources. More than 90 percent of the care provided is at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. Grateful patient Connie, from Toledo, OH, said, “Thank you for the chance to get help. I went 20 years without checking my eyes.” EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, with additional support from Alcon.