In the majority of people, cataracts are an unavoidable part of the aging process that begins to occur after the age of 40 when the proteins comprising the lens of the eye usually begin to degrade and/or cluster together. The opacity caused by cataracts eventually gets worse and keeps light from arriving at the retina correctly. This clouding of the lens of the eye leads to vision impairment, and eventually, complete blindness if not discovered or treated in time.
Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Ralph Chu is equipped to diagnose and manage cataracts in the first stages, as well as in support of our patients in the best methods of dealing with advancing symptoms. Having cataracts is very common — so common that cataract surgery is the most common surgery conducted in the U.S. The disease can form relatively slowly so those in the onset stages typically don't realize their condition. Since cataracts develop over time, having complete eye exams at least every other year is crucial to your general ocular health. Contact Chu Vision Institute in Bloomington, MN to see how we can help you get in control of your cataracts.
Symptoms of Cataracts
The most noticeable symptom of a cataract is progressively foggy eyesight that isn’t made clear by a patient’s current glasses prescription. Many people begin to realize they need more light to read. Additional vision-related symptoms could include decreased night vision, abnormal glare or halos, and vision with an overall yellowish tint. Cataracts aren’t painful, and they can be present for several years before they lead to any vision problems. In the majority of people, the condition begins to develop somewhere between 40 – 50 years of age, although a great number of people don’t experience any symptoms prior to reaching their 60s.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts are the result of age and the natural degeneration of the proteins of the eye lens. This process occurs in all men and women, but there are further behavioral and health issues that may speed up the condition. Smoking, vaping, drinking too much alcohol, and prolonged sun exposure have been associated with cataracts, as have medical conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure. Other factors that might speed up the formation of cataracts include:
- Degenerative myopia
- Certain types of eye surgery
- Use of prescription steroids
- Injury to the eye
"Bare with my lengthy review but if you’re like me, I wanted to know what others true thoughts were and I scoured as many reviews as possible to make sure I was making the best decision for me and my eyes. I am SO, SO thankful for Dr. Chu and Dr. Heckman’s expertise and honesty. I decided it was time to get Lasik and went in for my consultation. From check-in to my latest follow up, everyone at the Chu Vision Institute was friendly, warm, and helpful. Due to some past corneal scarring, Dr. Chu recommended that I get Lasik on one eye and PRK (ASA) on the other. I was extremely nervous about PRK because of the slightly longer recovery time and I really just wanted to wake up and have 20/20 vision like my friends who have had Lasik. The day of my procedure, they made sure I had all my questions and concerns answered before they let me in to have my surgery. That was extremely comforting to me and Dr. Heckman explained why PRK was recommended over Lasik. Simply put, I wouldn’t have had a good outcome if Dr. Chu had performed Lasik on both eyes. Both procedures went well and Dr. Chu confirmed his right decision during the procedure which took all of maybe 10 minutes for both eyes. As instructed, I went home and rested and could literally see 20/20 the next day with my Lasik eye. The PRK eye takes a little longer to heal but can already see better! (I was worried my blurry eye would affect my vision, but it did not). Recovery has been great and will continue to get better in the next few weeks. Now my husband wants to get his eyes done. Chu Vision Institute has exceeded my expectations and I am very happy with my results!"- E.M. / Google / Oct 20, 2020
"I had cataracts removed from both eyes. Dr. Chu and his staff were wonderful to work with. From the exam to the surgical procedure and recovery, everyone was very professional and pleasant . I had a perfect outcome and would highly recommend the Chu vision Clinic."- B.S. / Google / Oct 02, 2020
"I’ve been going to Chu vision for about three years now and and I’ve had excellent service each and every time. They follow me yearly for my dry eye condition. They are extremely thorough and take the time to answer all my questions. Highly recommend them."- C.S. / Google / Jul 31, 2020
"Exceptional. I felt like family as soon as I walked through the front door. Staff was extremely knowledgeable and friendly and my LASIK procedure went flawlessly. Like most folks, I did extensive research for months before my consult (word of mouth and online) I highly recommend Chu Vision for your procedure."- C.M. / Google / Mar 19, 2020
"I want to thank everyone at Chu Vision for the remarkable care we received recently. The clinic has an immaculate protocol to prevent Covid exposure for all of its patients. One might think that all the masks would prevent a warm, caring environment but not at Chu Vision! To a person, everyone was warm and welcoming. Dr. Chu was terrific and extremely thorough. The clinic was able to assess my husband’s acute vision change using a remarkable variety of tests and tools. What would have taken weeks at another clinic took only hours at Chu Vision. We won’t ever go anywhere else. Thank you so very much!"- K.D. / Yelp / Jul 13, 2020
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
During a comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Chu will do a simple vision test. This is generally done with a basic eye chart. After that, he will often conduct a contrast sensitivity test, which is very similar to a vision test but establishes how clearly the patient can see contrast. Then, a slit-lamp exam is usually performed. During a slit-lamp exam, Dr. Chu uses a special microscope that shines a strong but extremely narrow “slit” of illumination into the eye to observe its more outward structures.
Lastly, he will conduct the retinal exam and sometimes a potential acuity meter (PAM) exam. Prior to these tests, widening the pupils with special eye drops is required. Dilation of the pupils is necessary because it enables the most effective view to check the whole lens for any areas of cataract. If any are detected, then the potential acuity meter exam may be done to check the actual existing vision. The potential acuity meter exam is particularly important in choosing an IOL if Dr. Chu determines that you are a candidate for surgery.
Cataract Treatment Options
If Dr. Chu confirms you have cataracts, we can start to detail the different methods of treatment. The potential treatments for cataracts depend on the advanced degree of the disease. In the beginning stages, a lot of patients can manage quite well with new prescription glasses or contact lenses. Women and men with later-stage cataracts usually require a more involved solution, such as traditional or refractive cataract surgery. Dr. Chu and his remarkable staff are committed to offering you the highest quality of customized care. Based on the stage of your condition, we can treat your cataracts in our Bloomington, MN office, or refer you to a trusted specialist.
Improved Vision After Cataracts
If you have any of these symptoms or you haven’t received a comprehensive eye exam for more than two years, we recommend scheduling an appointment at Chu Vision Institute. Particularly for people who are in their 40s, getting comprehensive eye exams at least every two years is critical to diagnosing and managing cataracts and many other eye diseases. At our office in Bloomington, MN, Dr. Chu can provide a prompt diagnosis and establish an individualized plan to treat your condition.
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