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Cataracts and Depression May Be Related, According to Recent Study

December 14th, 2016

cataract surgery orange county

Cataracts are considered an expected part of aging; as they are an age-related disease. Almost half of Americans suffer from cataracts by the age of 75. Fortunately, laser cataract surgery has undergone tremendous advancements, and is a long way from the outdated methods that doctors used to use. Nevertheless, they are an upsetting reminder of the inevitable process of getting older and can leave those that they affect feeling vulnerable about their own independence.

This sentiment was echoed by a study in the recent issue of Optometry and Vision Science. The study looked at the effects of cataracts on older individuals beyond the obvious vision problems. They found a link between depression and cataracts in older individuals and report that this link is independent of other factors.

The study was an illuminating exploration of the relationship between aging, depression, and vision loss and raises interesting questions about the role of cataract surgery in treating mental health.

Understanding links like this will be especially important over the next couple of decades. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide – in some parts of the world, cataracts sufferers still rely on ineffective methods like couching to treat the problem. Additionally, the world’s population is only getting older, which means the number of people who will be suffering from vision loss due to cataracts will only grow larger. This makes a comprehensive understanding of the effects of cataracts, both vision-related and otherwise, extremely important.

The study consisted of elderly participants aged 60 or older in a Chinese town. They were asked to complete a questionnaire on depression. Almost half of the survey’s participants had cataracts in at least one eye. They also underwent eye examinations so that researchers could determine how severe each participant’s cataracts were. Eight percent of the participants reported having symptoms of depression. When researchers took a closer look at the results, they found that depressive symptoms were 33 percent more likely in participants with cataracts. There was no significant difference in the odds depending on whether an individual had cataracts in one eye or both.

It’s unclear how this relationship develops. Researchers are curious: does vision loss cause isolation (a factor that leads to depression) or does depression make those suffering from cataracts less likely to seek treatment? An interesting correlation the researchers found was that lack of formal education for those with cataracts led to a 50 percent increase in their likelihood of depressive symptoms.

“These results suggest that optometrists and vision care professionals should think beyond the direct effects of cataracts on visual impairment,” remarked Michael Twa, Editor-in-Chief of Optometry and Vision Science. “We should also consider the broader impact that vision loss may have on mental health and well-being.”

Dealing with vision loss can be difficult. If you think you have developed cataracts, let the dedicated specialists at Feinerman Vision guide you through the process of treating cataracts. One of our Feinerman ophthalmologists are ready to explain the process of laser cataract surgery and help you obtain all the information you need to feel confident about the treatment process. Give us a call to book an appointment at our Newport Beach location today.

From “Any Sharp Object” to Blades to Lasers: The Marvelous Advancements in Cataract Eye Surgery

August 26th, 2016

Cataract Surgery Orange County

Medical advancements and increasingly sophisticated surgical methods have helped improve the quality of life all around the world. Ailments that were once deadly or debilitating can now be easily treated. Even for non-fatal issues, like poor vision, new technologies like LASIK have made it easier for people to access convenient corrective methods.

Cataract surgery is a terrific example of a procedure that has evolved to become the simple technique it is today. Barring any issues or complications, cataract surgery takes about ten minutes per eye.

What are Cataracts and How Were They Dealt With In The Past?

Cataracts are a cloudy build-up that forms in the eye’s lens and impedes a person’s vision. In order to see, light has to be able to go into our eye and past the lens to the retina, but if the lens is not clear, less light is let through to the retina. In order to clear a person’s vision, this build-up must be removed.

Couching is the earliest documented method of cataract surgery. A sharp object would be used to dislodge the sullied lens and dislocate it to the bottom of the eye. It was widely practiced in the world before more precise methods were developed. That said, it is still practiced in parts of the world where poor populations do not have access to eye care professionals. Unfortunately, the practice has awful outcomes. A majority of patients wind up losing their vision and those that do not lose their vision have severely impaired eyesight. The procedure removes the lens entirely, which means proper vision is only possible with a very strong prescription.

Evolution of Cataract Surgery: Phacoemulsification & Intraocular Lenses

Modern improvements allowed for the lens capsule to remain behind even after the lens was removed. The biggest breakthrough came in 1967 with the development of phacoemulsification surgery, which used a technique that allowed ultrasound technology to break up the cloudy lens. The smaller pieces could then be removed using aspiration, making for a less invasive procedure. As a result, the incision needed to get to the cloudy lens slowly became smaller and smaller.

In addition to this revolutionary technique, artificial implants were developed to replace the removed lens. Intraocular lenses are now used in cataract surgery to replace the natural lens that is aspirated during the procedure.

The Use of Laser Technology in Cataract Surgery

Recently, surgeons have started to use femtosecond lasers instead of microscopic blades in order to perform certain steps in laser cataract surgery. The femtosecond laser technology was popularized by its ability to make LASIK more accurate. Now it is gaining popularity as a technology used during laser cataract surgery.

During laser cataract surgery, the femtosecond laser largely assists with the corneal incision and the lens (or cataract) fragmentation. During laser cataract surgery, the initial incisions are made using a femtosecond laser. This laser also helps soften the cataract for easier removal.

Cataracts are an easily treatable ailment. Clearing up your vision is as simple as visiting an ophthalmologist for a routine eye procedure that is regularly conducted on patients across the country and the world – and which takes less than an hour. Give us a call at Feinerman Vision or stop by our Newport Beach location to book a consultation and learn more about laser cataract surgery!

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Newport Beach, California 92663

Phone: 949.631.4780
Fax: 949.631.7854

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