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Three Things Patients Should Know About Cataracts

Three Things Patients Should Know About Cataracts

Quigley Eye Specialists joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in sharing three things everyone should know about the condition and its treatment.

As everyone grows older, the lenses of their eyes thicken and become cloudier. Eventually, they may find it more difficult to read street signs. Colors may seem dull. These symptoms may signal cataracts, which affect about 70 percent of people by age 75. Fortunately, cataracts can be corrected with surgery.

Ophthalmologists perform around three million cataract surgeries each year to restore vision to those patients. The following are facts people should know about the condition.

Age isn’t the only risk factor for cataracts.

Though most everyone will develop cataracts with age, recent studies show that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. Diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and certain ethnicities have all been linked to increased risk of cataracts. Eye injuries, prior eye surgery and long-term use of steroid medication can also result in cataracts. If you have any of these or other risk factors, talk to an ophthalmologist.

Cataracts cannot be prevented, but you can lower your risk.

Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outside can help. Several studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes, which have been shown to increase the risk of cataract development.

Surgery may help improve more than just your vision. During the procedure, the natural clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, which should improve your vision significantly. Patients have a variety of lenses to choose from, each with different benefits. Studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of falling. If cataracts are interfering with your ability to see well, consider asking your ophthalmologist about cataract surgery.

There are many lens procedures to choose from.

However, only one is covered by insurance, which is the standard mono-focal intraocular lens. This lens gives you distance vision, but you will need glasses for near and intermediate tasks.

Other options, such as SmartLens® procedures, which include multi-focal intraocular lenses, can give you a full-range of vision free from glasses. These lens options are considered an upgrade by your insurance company. This means that your insurance company will cover the surgery, but you will need to finance or pay out-of-pocket for the upgraded lens procedure.

To learn more ways to keep your eyes healthy, visit or the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.

Dr. Nika Priest-Allen is a Board-Certified Ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon with Quigley Eye Specialists. Technology leaders in eye care, Quigley Eye Specialists specializes in cataracts, laser cataract surgery, glaucoma, LASIK, dry eye, eyelid surgery, retinal issues, corneal conditions, facial plastic surgery and routine eye care. The practice has served the region for more than 30 years with locations throughout South Florida including Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Miami, Naples, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, North Port, Sarasota and Venice. For more information, call 239-466-2020 or visit

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