Clear Up Cloudy Vision

 Studies show that by age 60, 50 percent of all people have some degree of cataracts. They account for the number one cause of vision loss. New technology allows them to be removed in minutes without stitches or needles.

Delores Mikulski calls herself an “oldster.” Over her 70-something years, she’s read it all, but reading became hard last year when cataracts formed in her eyes. Dolores’ daughter, Maria, saw the change. “She complained that the television was blurry,” says Maria.

Cataracts are common with age. Imagine your eye having a lens like a camera. Over time, a film forms on the lens, and the lens must be replaced to get clear vision. Dr. Rowen says color can change, too. “An interesting study was on Monet — as he aged and his cataracts became browner and browner, he lost his blues in his paintings.”

Traditional surgery requires a large incision to pull the lens out in one piece, but Dr. Rowen and doctors around the country use a new procedure. “Today we make a two-and-a-half millimeter incision,” she says. “Everything is done through that tiny little incision.”

She breaks up the old lens, pulls it out and inserts a new lens. Dolores couldn’t believe how simple it was. “I just got comfortable, and she said I’m finished,” says Dolores.

About 50 percent of patients will develop a cloudiness on the lens. It can be cleared by laser in less than five minutes. “Even with glasses I couldn’t read, and I couldn’t see far away. Now I can see beautifully,” says Dolores. Her clear eyes can return to reading her favorite books.

Although cataracts usually develop slowly without pain, there are symptoms you can watch out for. These include:

Blurred or hazy vision
Washed out greens or blues
Appearance of spots in vision
Double vision
Halos around lights at night

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