Cataract Surgery

More than half of all Americans have had a cataract by the age of 80. Mostly related to age, a cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens, the clear part that helps focus light to the retina. Cataracts can sometimes develop as a result of an eye injury, after exposure to radiation, or in children as a birth defect. For the most part, however, cataracts develop in old age from protein clumping or gradual discoloration. The risk of developing a cataract can be heightened by certain medical conditions (like diabetes), smoking, use of alcohol, exposure to ultraviolet rays, and, of course, age. Cataracts can occur in either one or both eyes, but do not spread from one eye to the other. Surgery to remove a cataract is not necessary until vision becomes impaired unless the cataract interferes with the treatment of other eye problems. Cataract surgery is available through a Big Horn Hospital Association physician referral on an as needed basis.